Local Furniture Industry Welcomes Inaugural Batch of Creative Craftsmen
The SFIC Institute and the National Trades Union Congress’ e2i (Employment and Employability Institute) together officially announce the opening of a new carpentry campus today. The facility, which was approved by the Polytechnic of Western Australia (PWA) in May 2014, is designed to train and develop a pool of skilled local creative craftsmen for the Singapore furniture industry and is launched with support from the Singapore Furniture Industries Council (SFIC), Singapore Workforce Development Agency and SPRING Singapore. Located in Yishun, the training centre consists of two fully air-conditioned classrooms and a workshop equipped with an array of woodworking machinery and tools.
The Yishun campus is central to the Creative Craftsman Apprenticeship Programme that was introduced in February this year. At the campus, trainees undergo a six-month structured course on carpentry that aims to improve the skillset and fill the major shortage gap of carpenters in Singapore. Upon successful completion of the programme, participants will receive SFIC Institute’s Apprentice Certificate in Creative Craftsmanship, WDA’s WSQ Certified Operations Specialist, and PWA’s Record of Result and Certificate of Participation.
“Majority of the carpenters in Singapore are foreigners, and many practising masters are nearing retirement age,” said Mr Neo Sia Meng, Chairman of SFIC Institute. “Singapore currently faces a shortage of skilled local carpenters and the situation has become more challenging because of the absence of proper training facilities or curriculum in Singapore for such a craft. By providing a conducive learning environment and comprehensive education at the SFIC Institute Yishun Campus, we hope to introduce more young Singaporeans to the art of furniture craftsmanship, thus injecting fresh ideas and perspectives into the local furniture industry.”
Mr Gilbert Tan, Chief Executive Officer of e2i, commented, “In response to the needs of the furniture industry and workers, SFIC Institute and e2i started the creative craftsmen apprenticeship programme and we are heartened to see the first batch of craftsmen matched with better skills and employers. With the opening of Singapore’s first carpentry training centre, companies can look forward to more training programmes and a dedicated campus to upgrade the skillsets of their workers. More of our local furniture workers can now benefit from structured training with well-equipped facilities to master their crafts and progress in their career.”
Since its introduction early this year, the programme has garnered strong support from local companies, and keen interest from job seekers. To date, a total of 18 craftsmen of ages ranging from 24 to 66, have completed their training and have since embarked on a career as Creative Craftsmen with their new employers.
“The structured approach of e2i and the training provided by SFIC Institute provided the trainees with the basic skill-set to inherit the wealth of experience accumulated by their co-workers who were skilled tradesmen in the industry, enabling another generation of craftsmen to pick up the mantle,” shared Mr Eugene Pang, Manager for Corporate Affairs at Facility Link Pte Ltd, and one of the participating employers.
The SFIC Institute Yishun Campus expects to have a total of 180 Singaporeans trained under the programme over the next one and a half years.
To provide Singaporeans with an insight of the furniture industry, SFIC Institute and e2i will introduce and co-host a 1-day Creative Craftsmen Industry Preview (CCIP) for local job seekers to pick up interviewing tips and information on the Creative Craftsman Apprenticeship Programme, at the same time learn about the industry and tour the campus for hands-on woodcraft experience. The first CCIP is targeted to start in January 2015. Interested local job seekers can call 6496 9458 to sign up with SFIC Institute.