New Maritime Apprenticeship Scheme to familiarise jobseekers with seafaring career

27 April 2017

Inaugural cohorts of Tugmaster Training and CoC Class 4
(Special Limit) Programmes graduates


A new Maritime Apprenticeship Scheme in support of the Adapt & Grow initiative to familiarise and match jobseekers with potential employers was launched today by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), e2i (Employment and Employability Institute), Singapore Organisation of Seamen (SOS) and Workforce Singapore (WSG). This was announced at the graduation ceremony for the CoC Class 5 (Special Limit) programmes. The ceremony also saw the first cohorts of MPA’s Port Limit Tugmaster and Certificate of Competency (CoC) Class 4 Master (Special Limit) programmes receive their certification.

New initiative for supporting seafaring as a career

2    Developed by the Tripartite Maritime Manpower Taskforce for Seafaring, the Maritime Apprenticeship Scheme aims to strengthen the employability of Singaporeans by providing them an avenue to pick up vocational skills and at the same time allow companies and jobseekers find a better job fit before long-term employment.

3    Under this scheme, jobseekers will be placed on a month-long shipboard work trial with local harbour craft employers, as well as a three-day foundational maritime training course to assimilate themselves with basic shipboard safety and seamanship. Upon completion and if found suitable, the candidate can be formally employed to undergo further training and certification to become steersmen, engine drivers, tug masters, and even the CoC Special Limit Officers.

4    Monthly training costs and allowance of up to $2,600 per trainee for Singapore citizens and $1,940 for Singapore PRs, are supported by the tripartite partners. For a start, we target to train up to 50 candidates over a year. The first batch is expected to start the familiarisation course by end May 2017. The course will be conducted by STET Division, ST Electronics (Training & Simulation Systems) Pte Ltd.

5     Mr Andrew Tan, Chief Executive of MPA, said, “We are glad to support the new scheme as part of the efforts spearheaded by the Tripartite Maritime Manpower Taskforce for Seafaring. The work trial will give candidates the opportunity to make informed decision before they progress on a seafaring career. We will continue to develop high-quality training that respond to evolving needs of the industry.”

6     Mr Gilbert Tan, CEO of e2i, said, “We hope Singaporeans interested in a career at sea will take this opportunity to venture into the maritime industry with the launch of the Maritime Apprenticeship Scheme. With the work trial, trainees can gain practical skills and actual taste of a seafaring career and employers can assess job suitability, which will result in a better job match. Maritime careers and employers have always prized vocational skills, and this programme by e2i and tripartite partners is developed to prepare new entrees keen to embark on a career with good progression pathway.”

7    Mr Kam Soon Huat, General Secretary of SOS, said, “The Maritime Apprenticeship Scheme is a good initiative as it exposes interested applicants to the working environment onboard while offering them ample time to decide whether to pursue a seafaring career. It also provides them with the necessary experience and confidence at sea and allows employers to assess the trainees’ commitment and employability. Most importantly, the programme opens up more job opportunities for lower income Singaporeans in the competitive employment market.”

Graduation of cadets from inaugural cohorts of Tugmaster and CoC Class 4 Master (Special Limit) Programmes

8     Following the induction of the first trainees in 2015 and 2016 respectively, theTugmaster and Class 4 Master (Special Limit) Programmes saw their first cohorts graduate today.

9   For 15 months, 17 cadets underwent the Tugmaster Programme that comprised of facilitated classroom and practical training for operating tugboats. With good performance and five years of work experience, these Tugmasters can further upgrade to become a shore-based operations controller or trainer. In addition, those who aspire to progress further can enrol and qualify for the Special Limit Deck Officer programme, after completing a further 24 months of sea service.

10    Separately, the first nine officers graduated from the Class 4 Master (Special Limit) programme conducted by the Singapore Maritime Academy.

11    The ceremony also saw 55 other cadets graduate as Special Limit Chief Mates and 2nd Engineers, bringing total enrolment for the CoC (Special Limit) programmes to 360 to-date.

12   First introduced in 2011, the CoC (Special Limit) programmes initiated by Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), the National Trades Union Congress's (NTUC) e2i (Employment and Employability Institute) and Workforce Singapore (WSG) aimed to deepen the skills of seafarers and provide a structured career pathway so that they could progress in the maritime industry to become Chief Mates and 2nd Engineers and eventually upgrade to the level of Masters and Chief Engineers. The programme prepare seafarers to serve onboard ships operating within "Special Limits" near Singapore. Developed in close consultation with industry players like the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA), the programmes allows seafarers to enjoy the flexibility of serving shorter voyages while addressing the manpower needs of the maritime industry.

Annex A – Career progression roadmap 

MPA CE, Andrew Tan, giving a speech at the graduation ceremony for Certificate of Competency (Special Limit) Officers and Tugmasters.

Director (Shipping), Capt Daknash and MPA CE, Andrew Tan, putting an epaulette on one of the graduates. Observing on the right is Mr Gary Goh, Deputy Chief Executive, Employment and Employability Institute.

Group photo with all graduates.