Photo: Khaw Boon Wan's Facebook

Photo: Khaw Boon Wan's Facebook

Singapore National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan wants to see more Singaporeans take up jobs as crane operators. 

In his latest blog post, Mr Khaw noted how such workers are needed to help the construction sector raise its productivity. 

A new programme launched by the Building and Construction Authority has also helped to make the remuneration package and upgrading opportunities for such workers, more attractive. 

Under the 1-year 'Crane Apprenticeship Programme', a crane apprentice will undergo a 12-day training and skill certification course, before embarking on the programme. 

The first batch of 6 apprentices started the programme this month. 

"One of them is Steven Kok, a 28-year-old father of three young children. He is looking to hone a skill that would provide him with good job prospects and an attractive remuneration. He will soon be starting work with his employer, Leo Ong Construction Pte Ltd. Once he has gained sufficient experience, he intends to upgrade his skills and learn to operate other types of cranes. We need more Imrans and Stevens so as to reduce our reliance on foreign crane operators. This is a good job with attractive remunerations," said Mr Khaw.

New crane operators stand to earn up to $4,000 a month. 

This includes overtime pay and allowances. 

Those with more experience can take home a monthly gross pay of $6,000 to $7,000. 

Mr Khaw said the industry needs more Singaporean workers so it can reduce its reliance on foreign crane operators. 

There are some 3,600 active crane operators in the built environment sector today. 

Half of them are Singaporeans. 

Mr Khaw said more operators are need as his ministry ramps up the supply of flats. 

"We need to up construction productivity urgently. One key strategy is to promote standardization and prefabrication. In prefab construction, building components are made in the factories and transported to construction sites where they are hoisted by cranes for assembly. To support this productivity strategy, we need many crane operators on site. For example, for each HDB block under construction, the contractor needs to deploy one crane on the ground. This level of deployment is not excessive, as the percentage of precast materials used in the construction of BTO flats can be as high as 70%," said Mr Khaw.