Singapore: putting its training money where its maritime future is.

Singapore has no natural resources. Not even, apart from rain, its own supply of fresh water. But it does have a priceless location at the gate to the ‘over 100,000 ship transits per annum’ corridors of the Singapore and Malacca Straits. Singapore also benefits from a diligent, resourceful and well educated multi-cultural population. These key assets, in combination with a long tradition of trading, shipping and port services, have created a thriving maritime industry that now provides a quality bench mark for Asia and the world.

In terms of shipping, Singapore’s Maritime Port Authority (MPA) has long identified the need to ensure the on-going provision of well trained personnel to support maritime industry excellence and growth. The MPA’s dynamic solution has been to provide comprehensive and generous financial support to industry employers through its Maritime Cluster Fund (MCF). The elements of this MCF support encompass manpower training by way of grants of up to 90% of cost, as well as support for new and existing shipping business development and productivity improvement. In short, the MPA has responded positively to the challenge of that well-known but somewhat blunt proverb,

Put your money where your mouth is.”

For SeaProf Executive Education, its MCF support focus is on the man/womanpower education and training front. Course pre-approval is required so that the MCF are able to audit the content and quality of course materials and speakers. MCF training grants of 50% of course fees are currently provided to Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents (PR’s) attending on SeaProf courses. In today’s still challenging, but cautiously improving shipping market, the MCF’s support provides a positive and visible inducement to maritime industry employers to ‘retrain and retain’ for the future. Clever pro-active thinking and action. But this is what has made Singapore what it is today.

In addition to the MCF training grants, maritime employers can also benefit from Singapore’s Productivity & Innovation Credit Scheme. This is currently provided by way of a PIC cash rebate of 40% of the balance of the net amount paid for training after application of the MCF 50% training grant. This ‘MCF grant + PIC rebate’ combined scheme provides a total training subsidy of almost 70% of the total cost of maritime business upskilling. A ‘Net Fees’ example is available on the SeaProf website.

And that’s not the end of the good news as the PIC cash rebate extends beyond Singapore Citizen and PR employees to include those who are engaged under Work Passes as well. As such, a Work Pass employee will also be eligible for a least a 40% PIC cash rebate. Further, the alternative to the PIC cash rebate is a 400% tax deduction. The latter process is a bit more complex but it can result in a net return on a company’s training budget. If that’s not a good deal for maritime industry employers and their employees, then just what is? Full details at PIC cash rebate.

The pragmatism and smart thinking behind the MCF training grants and PIC rebates seems to be unfortunately confined in the Asian region to Singapore. The only exception being what appears to be a more limited but still helpful support scheme recently implemented in Hong Kong. Are there no other regional governments out there astute enough to understand the exponential growth of the knowledge challenge? And the importance of maritime upskilling to ensuring their nation’s ability to respond in a rapidly changing world? Sadly, it would seem not.

Singapore’s determined and forward thinking strategy for the creation and growth of its world class shipping and port industries has always been highly visible. Much of this has been facilitated by Singapore’s support to industry through generous training and education inducements. The MCF grant and PIC rebate schemes have been a big part of this. Singapore’s quest for quality and excellence has never wavered and it seems unlikely it ever will.

Singapore’s success is manifested by the PSA’s ‘super port operator’ credentials, the rapid growth of the MPA’s high quality flag register to number five in world tonnage rankings and the creation of a world class maritime service and knowledge cluster that is a major contributor to Singapore’s GDP. Conclusion? Only to reiterate that Singapore has ‘put its money where its future is’ and it has paid off handsomely.

As to the future, the 14th Run of the SeaProf and BI Norwegian Business School ‘Key Elements of Shipping’ course is scheduled for 21-23 March 2017 in Singapore. Almost 500 maritime industry participants have attended the course and have been awarded a ‘BI Certificate of Achievement’. The MCF training grant and PIC cash rebate schemes continue to support the KES course, its participants and their industry employers. Full details are available at the SeaProf website along with a Net Fees Calculation as an easy to understand example of how it all works. If you have any questions, just give SeaProf a call and Ashley, SeaProf’s Course Coordinator, will be happy to assist.

SeaProf’s adopted credo is that, “Knowledge is power”. Singapore’s stability and commercial success is proof that, in combination with application by good government and people of integrity, the credo’s concept message works. SeaProf and SeaBlog will therefore continue to help contribute to this process and we hope you will join us at our upcoming course. Options also include ‘Liking’ us on Facebook, joining us on LinkedIn or subscribing to SeaBlog. And please post your own comments as well please!




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