Future Readiness for companies and employees in Industry 4.0

28 January 2022 — The impact of the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0) is being felt as individuals, companies, industries and even governments are bracing for further change and disruption. Traditional methods of doing business are shifting under our feet even while new technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), virtual and augmented reality as well as the Internet of Things (IoT) are becoming increasingly integrated into systems and processes across multiple fields. To remain competitive and be future-ready, many organisations are ramping up their transformation efforts.

In 2018, the Economic Development Board of Singapore (EDB) published the Smart Industry Readiness Index (SIRI), which presented a suite of frameworks and tools to help manufacturers start, scale, and sustain their manufacturing transformation journeys. The aim was to further aid companies in transforming their capabilities through their human capital, and support Singapore’s drive towards becoming a Smart Nation.

In line with this, the National University of Singapore (NUS) has taken steps to prepare and equip people and organisations with skills and tools needed for Industry 4.0. In 2019, NUS signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with leading testing, certification, auditing and advisory company TÜV SÜD to provide consultancy and training services on Industry 4.0. Dr Andreas Hauser, TÜV SÜD representative, shared on the partnership: “Having worked with over 200 organisations to assess their Industry 4.0 readiness, we’ve learnt that high quality training is a critical component to understanding Industry 4.0 – its benefits, concepts and technological solutions, and to develop new skills required for digitalisation. This MoU with NUS SCALE marks the start of a strategic partnership, aimed to facilitate organisations to embark on their digital transformation journey in a methodological and practical way.”

Furthermore, NUS introduced the Master of Science in Industry 4.0 (MSc in Industry 4.0) programme to support the country’s aspiration and to develop a pool of talent with the skills needed for this new age. The programme seeks to provide graduates with an in-depth appreciation of the technologies driving the latest industrial revolution, including how they can transform organisations and impact business processes and functions.

Timely, Current and Relevant
The MSc in Industry 4.0 programme curriculum is specifically designed in accordance with SIRI, and takes into consideration the latest global trends and developments in technology and industry. The curriculum also incorporates learning opportunities both inside the classroom and out in the industry to ensure that it is reflective of real-life challenges and applications.

The relevance of the programme to the workplace has been clear to students since the programme’s inception. Whether they were self-funded or sponsored by their companies, feedback from students and graduates about the programme has been positive.

MSc in Industry 4.0

This photo, taken in 2019, shows the inaugural intake of students in the NUS MSc in Industry 4.0 programme posing with Prof Susanna Leong, Dean, School of Continuing and Lifelong Education, and Vice Provost (Masters’ Programmes and Lifelong Education), National University of Singapore. This cohort was the first batch to graduate from the programme in 2021.

Raymond Chee, Executive Director of Sealed Air Singapore, had very clear goals in mind when he enrolled for the programme. “I wanted to understand what more I can do for our customers. I dabble in automation and I feel there is a lot more potential to what we can do, like enhancing current solutions by better understanding data and how we can integrate them into our work today.”

The incorporation of technology into organisational transformation—in practical, industry relevant terms— is a clear driver behind structure of the MSc in Industry 4.0 curriculum, which features learning opportunities both in and out of the classroom. The programme’s capstone projects for instance are designed specifically to encourage students to delve into the real-life challenges and issues faced by companies in the age of Industry 4.0.

Past projects have seen students being attached to companies across a variety of industries, focusing on a range of operational areas within the organisations, including the Internet of Things (IOT), data analytics, supply chain and cloud computing. Some of these companies include Google, Rolls-Royce Singapore, Micron Technology, Arcstone, LDR Technology and ARTC, A*Star.

Graduates from the first cohort of the programme, Jon Chiang and Cai Wendi, who completed their capstone projects with Changi Airport Group to Hi-Beau International respectively, have noted how their multidisciplinary education has enabled them to develop and apply their talents and skills for digital transformation within various business functions.

Industry Support and More
Since its inception, the MSc in Industry 4.0 programme has enjoyed significant interest and support from local companies, Multi-National Corporations (MNCs) as well as government bodies. Several organisations offer scholarships and financial aid schemes to students in the programme.

industry 4.0

To start with, Singaporeans and Singapore Permanent Residents who are successfully enrolled in the programme may enjoy tuition fee subsidies under SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG). Separately, the Infocomm Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA) offers the Singapore Digital (SG:D) Scholarship (Postgraduate) to empower individuals interested in pursuing Infocomm Media-related studies at the Master’s or PhD level. The SG:D Scholarship covers the tuition fees for a postgraduate programme and offers an allowance to support awardees financially while they undertake their studies. In addition, it provides funding support for courses and certifications beyond the school curriculum, as well as networking opportunities and mentorships.

The Dell Technologies MSc in Industry 4.0 scholarship, established in 2019, meanwhile comprises up to three scholarships per Academic Year, intended for top-performing students who are enrolled full-time in the programme.

Dell Technologies representative Mr Bert Park, Senior Vice President of Software and Peripherals Products Group, shared more on the scholarship: “As our society becomes deeply immersed in Industry 4.0 and its everyday applications, Dell believes it is imperative that our workforce stays abreast of evolving technological trends in order to remain competitive and relevant—and we are pleased to offer the Dell Technologies Sponsorship Program for the NUS MSc in Industry 4.0.”

Industry 4.0 readiness is key
The MSc in Industry 4.0 programme has attracted interest from neighbouring countries and internationally. The student body is made up of different nationalities; postgraduates from Singapore as well as Southeast Asian countries such Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines. Some students hail from other regions parts of the world, like Japan, China and Saudi Arabia. Companies that have sent employees to join the programme include local names such as C-Pak Pte Ltd, Takeda Pharmaceuticals Singapore and Collins Aerospace, as well as MNCs such as Aramco and Saudi Arabian Airlines. Several Singapore government agencies have signed their employees on too, namely IMDA and the Defence Science & Technology Agency (DSTA).

Mr Harris Chan, a representative of ST Engineering, sums up the need for companies to equip staff with the relevant skills to keep up with the changes in industry: “To seize the opportunities arising from Industry 4.0, our workforce needs to be equipped with both breadth and depth in technology and digitalisation capabilities. Employees will need to pick up relevant skill sets and be lifelong learners to succeed in the future economy.”

Industry 4.0 is changing all the industries that it touches. Is your company ready for the revolution?

To find out more about the MSc in Industry 4.0 programme, click here.

To explore organisational collaboration opportunities with the MSc in Industry 4.0 programme, please email us at pgc@nus.edu.sg.

Future Readiness in Industry 4.0
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  • Future Readiness for companies and employees in Industry 4.0
08 February 2022