SPEECH BY MR LUCIEN WONG, CHAIRMAN, THE MARITIME AND PORT AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE, AT THE MARITIMEONE SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS CEREMONY, AT SWISSOTEL MERCHANT COURT SINGAPORE, ON THURSDAY, 16 AUGUST 2012, 6.30PM
Mr Michael Chia, Chairman, Singapore Maritime Foundation
Distinguished guests, Ladies and gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to be here at the MaritimeONE Scholarship Awards Ceremony. Today is a special day for the bright young individuals who will be receiving MaritimeONE scholarships, as well as the two seafaring scholarships - the Tripartite Maritime Scholarship Scheme (or TMSS) and the Seafaring Alternative... An Investment For Life (or SAIL) Scholarship.
These scholarships are awarded to individuals who have demonstrated a passion for and a desire to pursue a career in the maritime industry. Beyond good academic results, these scholarship recipients have also demonstrated strong leadership skills and good track records in co-curricular activities. I would like to take this chance to extend my heartiest congratulations to our 40 scholars.
MaritimeONE & Its Initiatives
Today, Singapore is home to more than 5,000 maritime establishments, which employ over 170,000 people. The maritime industry continues to be an important pillar of our country's economic growth, contributing to about seven per cent of Singapore's Gross Domestic Product.
As Singapore builds its position as a leading International Maritime Centre (or IMC) and a premier global hub port, the availability of a wide variety of maritime vocations will grow, giving rise to opportunities for long-term maritime careers, as well as the demand for well-trained and competent maritime professionals. To address this growing demand for skilled maritime personnel, it is important that we co-ordinate our resources and efforts to attract more local youths to the maritime industry.
It was with this purpose in mind that the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (or MPA), the Singapore Maritime Foundation (or SMF), the Singapore Shipping Association (or SSA) and the Association of Singapore Marine Industries (ASMI) launched the Maritime Outreach Network (or MaritimeONE) in 2007. The MaritimeONE platform uses various channels such as, industry-student networking events, career fairs and talks in schools, the one-stop Maritime Careers Portal and the MaritimeONE scholarship programme, to raise awareness of the industry, and grow the pool of available young talent.
Since the introduction of the MaritimeONE scholarship programme in 2007, scholarships of more than $2.56 million have been awarded to 90 students to pursue maritime-related courses both in local and overseas universities.
As part of our continued efforts to attract talented youths to the industry, we have included more maritime and non-maritime courses into the MaritimeONE scholarship programme this year. I am glad to note that the interest in the MaritimeONE scholarships continues to be positive and we received more than 200 applications this year. This evening, we will be presenting 28 MaritimeONE scholarships offered by 11 sponsors. 11 students will pursue their studies in Singapore, while the remaining 17 will study overseas.
SAIL and TMSS Scholarships
To develop manpower for the seafaring sector, MPA, together with the Singapore Maritime Officers' Union (or SMOU), the Singapore Organisation of Seamen (or SOS) and the industry jointly offer the SAIL and TMSS scholarships. Recipients of these scholarships will pursue seafaring diploma programmes at the Singapore Maritime Academy in Singapore Polytechnic. Upon graduation, they would work onboard their sponsor companies' ships and strive towards becoming Captains and Chief Engineers.
This evening, we will also be presenting one SAIL and 11 TMSS scholarships. Including this batch of scholars, over 110 scholarships have been awarded since the TMSS and SAIL scholarship programmes were started in 2002 and 2005 respectively. I am happy to note that 10 of these scholars have already obtained their Certificate of Competency Class 2 and are now working towards their Class 1 certificate, one step closer to their dreams of becoming Captains and Chief Engineers of vessels.
Strong Industry Support
Despite the uncertain global economic situation in recent years, I am heartened by the unwavering support from the sponsors of the MaritimeONE, TMSS and SAIL scholarships, with 40 scholarships being given out this year. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors for pledging their support to grow the maritime talent pool in Singapore. We hope that more of such maritime partners would come forward to support this meaningful endeavour so that we are able to further Singapore's growth as an IMC and a premier global hub port.
I am pleased to see many proud parents here today and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for supporting your children in their choice of a maritime scholarship. I wish our scholars every success in their studies and look forward to their contributions to Maritime Singapore in the near future.