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Singapore Motor Workshop Association (SMWA) marks 50th anniversary with a call to prep for EV future

The Singapore Motor Workshop Association (SMWA) celebrated its golden jubilee by calling on its members to prepare for a future with electric vehicles.

The automobile industry is heading towards an electric future, and workshops and workshop owners in Singapore need to evolve if they are to remain relevant.

That was the key message from the Singapore Motor Workshop Association (SMWA) to its members during the Association’s 50th anniversary dinner, which took place at Orchard Hotel on 3 November 2022.

Mr. Chee Hong Tat (fifth from left), who is the Advisor to the Singapore Motor Workshop Association, was the guest-of-honour that evening

SMWA was formed in 1972 with several objectives that include promoting the workshop industry, technical skills, and to support local education and charities.

The guest-of-honour during last night’s dinner was Mr. Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State for Finance & Transport, and Advisor to SMWA.

In his speech, Mr. Chee touched on the auto industry’s transition from internal combustion engine (ICE) cars to those powered by cleaner energy, such as hybrids and electric vehicles (EVs).

He highlighted the pressing need for SMWA members to upgrade and reskill in order to meet future needs, especially since Singapore has plans to phase out ICE vehicles by 2040.

Mr. Chee also specifically mentioned the fact that EVs require much less maintenance compared to ICE cars, and that many carmakers will encourage customers to return to the dealer for servicing, especially for battery-related issues.

This trend will present a big challenge to smaller, independently owned workshops if they do not adapt accordingly.

New skills and knowledge

SMWA President Mike Keh also reiterated the need for the members to evolve by upskilling to meet the industry’s changing needs

The Minister’s call to action was echoed by SWMA’s President, Mike Keh, who said that the Association’s golden anniversary also coincided with the automotive industry’s shift towards electric and electrified vehicles.

The industry’s evolution was why the SWMA Training Academy was set up in 2020. Its purpose is to help prepare and equip SWMA members with the necessary knowledge and skills to deal with cleaner-energy vehicles.

Helping SWMA in this regard is Ngee Ann Polytechnic, which is collaborating with SWMA for the National EV Specialist Safety (NESS) certification course.

Mr. Chee Hong Tat (in blue tie) with the first batch of participants who completed the NESS certification course

The course aims to equip participants with knowledge in areas such as EV electrical fundamentals, battery management and charging.

During the dinner, the first batch of participants who completed the NESS course received their certificates from Mr. Chee. Two more batches of trainees are expected to complete the course by end-2022.

SWMA also highlighted its continued partnership with the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), which it supports by providing skills content and advisory with regard to the Institute’s development of automotive curricula.