Gov’t adds new licenses for emerging technologies

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Gov’t adds new licenses for emerging technologies

The government will create professional licenses for skills in robotics, 3-D printers, renewable energy, biopharmaceuticals and other technologies associated with the so-called fourth industrial revolution.

The Ministry of Employment and Labor on Tuesday approved the creation of 17 new licenses and revisions to existing licenses that match the needs of emerging fields.

The development of digital technologies, what the government is calling the “fourth industrial revolution,” has been picking up pace. In the past six years, the local robotics market, for instance, has been growing an average 21 percent annually, according to the ministry. In 2014, Korea’s robotics market was estimated to be worth 2.6 trillion won ($2.34 billion), while the world market was an estimated 20 trillion won.

In Korea, there are currently over 1,800 robot-related companies with close to 26,000 people working in the field, making the industry ripe with potential, especially as artificial intelligence technology has become applicable not just in robots but also home appliances and medical services.

The new licenses also include certifications in the renewable energy and biopharmaceutical industries. They account for nine of the 17 licenses. The biopharm market, which was worth 7.6 trillion won in 2015, has been growing at an average annual rate of 7 percent in recent years.

In addition to the new licenses, the government plans to merge or abolish existing certifications that are considered redundant or unnecessary. The license for bioengineering technicians will fall under a more general biochemical products manufacturing license, while the renewable energy power facilitation license will be included in the solar energy production technology license. Certifications to teach people how to fix watches and make cigarettes will be removed.

“Advanced economies like Germany have been making changes to related licenses in environmentally-friendly new industries in preparation for the fourth industrial revolution,” Labor Minister Lee Ki-kwon said. “The new national technology licenses will contribute in creating new jobs.”

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