Currently, it has over 1,700 employees, of which almost 80% are locals, across commercial, maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) operations, as well as manufacturing activities.
GE Aviation is planning to hire 300 employees in 2022. This is part of an overall plan for aerospace companies to expand and hire over 1,000 workers in the next two years, Minister for Trade And Industry, Gan Kim Yong said yesterday.
Speaking at GE Aviation’s 40th-anniversary celebration, the Minister noted that currently, GE Aviation has over 1,700 employees, of which almost 80% are locals, across commercial, maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) operations, as well as manufacturing activities. As a whole, the industry has also "created good job opportunities for Singaporeans, with eight in 10 jobs held by locals," he added.
At the celebration, Minister Gan also proudly noted that thanks to the strong partnership with companies such as GE Aviation, Singapore has established itself as a leading aerospace hub.
He also noted that, admittedly, the COVID-19 pandemic had posed as quite a speedbump - global travel restrictions and tightened borders worldwide grounded flights and reduced demand for air travel all had knock-on effects on the aerospace industry. As such, Singapore’s aerospace manufacturing output fell by 26% in 2020.
Despite these challenges, "Singapore has been committed to helping aerospace companies preserve their core capabilities" during the downturn and supporting the industry’s recovery. For instance, through the Enhanced Job Support Scheme, which provides eligible aerospace companies with almost two years of wage subsidies.
There have also been efforts to support workers in training and upskilling - the Enhanced Training Support Package administered by SkillsFuture Singapore where over 2,300 individuals have undergone training to be better equipped for recovery, and Workforce Singapore’s Career Conversion Programme for Aerospace Officer and Aerospace Executive, as well as the Support for Job Redesign under the Productivity Solutions Grant to reskill workers.
Minister Gan also encouraged the industry to continue to invest in capability development, and ensure that manufacturing and MRO facilities remain best-in-class globally. To do so, companies should leverage technologies such as automation, robotics, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), and additive manufacturing o raise productivity, improve reliability, and strengthen the competitiveness of the industry. Apart from that, the industry will also need to work together to build up capabilities in emerging areas such as:
- Developing digital services to help airlines run their operations more effectively;
- Harness autonomous technologies and advanced communications to reduce operating costs; and
- Incorporating sustainability such as sustainable aviation fuels and electric propulsion to reduce the environmental impact in the aviation sector.
Listing GE Aviation as a prime example, Minister Gan mentioned that GE Aviation has worked with the local community to drive new initiatives that champion R&D and innovation. Notably, in 2014, GE Aviation established a Centre of Excellence for repairs of HighPressure Turbine Airfoils. In 2017, it established a research group to develop advanced repair technology in special coatings & advanced aerospace material.
Keeping the ball rolling, it then set up an Automation and Robotics Lab in Singapore to develop robotics and automation solutions as well as upskill its workforce the following year.