SBS Transit and ITE launch work-study program in land transport engineering

SINGAPORE – A bus enthusiast since the age of five, Mr Briant Tan enjoyed bus trips around Singapore with his family and memorized most of the local bus routes over the years.

Mr. Tan, whose grandfather was a bus driver, also has a collection of more than 30 model buses from Singapore and Hong Kong.

Today, 21, a graduate of Nitec in mechanical technology, he is one of 21 students enrolled in the first dual degree course in land transport engineering at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE).

This 2.5-year program, which began on April 4, is the first offered by ITE in collaboration with SBS Transit.

Students can choose to major in bus or railway engineering and they receive a monthly salary of around $2,000.

Each week, they spend four to five days working as apprentices at SBS Transit and return to school for a day to learn about basic engineering like fuel engines, sensors and machine parts.

The course equips students with the knowledge and skills to perform preventive and corrective maintenance activities on buses and trains and their related systems.

Students will also use data analysis tools as well as augmented and virtual reality simulators during their training.

The transport operator’s general manager, Cheng Siak Kian, said, “This partnership with ITE allows us to develop a strong pool of well-trained technicians with a wealth of practical experience for the public transport industry.”

Besides the training to become a technician, the students will receive training in supervisory skills, technical diagnostics as well as operations and planning, which are skills required for assistant engineers, said Mr. Koh Boon Yeow, head of the engineering by SBS Transit for the northeast line.

Mr. Koh was part of the corporate team that co-developed the program with ITE.

Upon completion of the program, those who perform well and wish to pursue a career with SBS Transit will be invited to interview for the position of Assistant Engineer.

On Wednesday May 4, ITE and SBS Transit signed a memorandum of understanding to expand their collaboration to train more students and staff in ground transportation engineering.

Transport Minister S. Iswaran attended the signing ceremony at the North East Line’s Sengkang Depot.

The Land Transport Authority plans to create up to 8,000 new jobs in public transport by 2030 as it aims to make the industry more innovative and provide a better connection for all.

Many industries are facing labor shortages as Singapore reopens after the pandemic, but the work-study degree program is a way to recruit more talent, the HR manager says and SBS Transit Organizational Development, Don Leow.

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