The National Trades Union Congress’ (NTUC) e2i (Employment and Employability Institute), the Building Construction and Timber Industries Employees’ Union (BATU) and the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) have come together to pledge commitment to build and strengthen the Built Environment sector’s workforce competencies and capabilities. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed today between the partners to forge closer collaboration to identify and close skills gaps of workers through enhancing their training. This is part of overall efforts to support the transformation of the sector.
The Built Environment sector is among the 23 sectors identified by the Committee of the Future Economy to develop roadmaps and bring together relevant stakeholders such as trade associations, unions and the Government to align efforts to transform the sector collectively. BCA and the industry partners are working together to transform the sector through use of technologies to change the way we build. This includes digital engineering, green building technologies, and Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA) etc, to enable growth and raise competitiveness of businesses and the workforce.
The MOU brings together concerted efforts by the union and agencies to provide in-depth and sector-focused training programmes to support Singaporeans who are keen to pursue a career in the Built Environment sector. It also aims to develop a strong Singaporean core of existing workers who will take charge of their careers through up-skilling and acquiring emerging skill sets to deepen their competencies. The collaboration will also lend greater support for Built Environment small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to develop deep capabilities in the key transformation areas and encourage companies to send their Singaporean workers for training to become more competent at work, and to be kept up to date on new and best practices within the sector.
The partners will also co-organise career and education fairs, and there will be industry mentoring-related services targeted at students and alumni of the BCA Academy (BCAA) – the education and research arm of the BCA. The academy is a dedicated institution for skills and knowledge acquisition for industry practitioners within the Built Environment sector. BCAA plays an integral role in up-skilling the industry to meet the challenges of adopting new technologies.
A masterclass on improving productivity and profitability through Building Information Modelling (BIM) was held today in conjunction with the signing of the MOU. There was also sharing from local SMEs on their experiences and lessons learnt in adopting BIM in practices. Over 250 partners and industry practitioners attended the masterclass and exchanged valuable perspectives and knowledge. The partners hope to promote continual skills training and deep skilling amongst the industry’s workforce through such masterclasses and workshops. Mr Chan Chun Sing, Secretary-General of NTUC, was the Guest of Honour of the event and witnessed the MOU signing together with Mr Hugh Lim, Chief Executive of BCA.
Mr Gilbert Tan, Chief Executive Officer of e2i said, “The signing of the MOU reflects the partners’ commitment to support skills deepening and career development; aligning existing efforts by e2i and the different partners and stakeholders to attract, develop and retain a strong skilled talent pool in the Built Environment sector. The industry is fast-moving and it is crucial for us to equip workers in the sector with new capabilities and relevant skill sets while at the same time create good career pathways for those who are keen to pursue a career in the sector.”
Mr Zainal Sapari, Executive Secretary of BATU, said that BATU will work with its unionised companies and NTUC U Associates (professional guilds and communities) to identify skills gaps in the industry. It will also work with members to encourage them to upskill. He added, “The union is constantly looking at ways it can help its members upgrade their skills and remain relevant to the changing needs of the industry. With new technologies being introduced, the Built Environment sector is an exciting one to be in, and both employers and workers must keep pace with the changes as digitalisation becomes imminent and new skills are required for the job. This partnership with e2i and BCAA will ensure that relevant training is made accessible to industry professionals as well as those who are keen to join the industry.”
Mr Hugh Lim, Chief Executive of BCA highlighted how this partnership is a major stepping stone for the transformation of the Built Environment sector. “We are stepping up efforts for Singapore’s built environment firms to be at the forefront of the latest technological advancements in the sector. This is part of plans to establish strong regional and global recognition of our firms’ capabilities. Hence, it is crucial that our workforce is well-equipped with the latest skills and knowledge to support these new developments,” he explained. “We are working closely together with e2i on developing the list of BCAA courses which could potentially benefit at least another 1,000 Singaporeans in the built environment sector through BCAA’s training courses every year. With this partnership providing firms greater access to industry-relevant training, this definitely sets us on the right path for transforming the sector and creating even better jobs for Singaporeans,” Mr Lim added.