More construction projects are underway across Singapore. These include new industrial buildings, the MRT Circle and Jurong Region lines and almost 40,000 new public and private homes launching this year alone.
Minister for National Development Desmond Lee is enthused about helping Singapore’s built environment (BE) employers and workers as well as Singaporeans at large succeed together during this change.
This is through companies adopting the resilience strategies in the Built Environment Industry Transformation Map (BE ITM) and through, well, building up the built environment workforce with digital-ready skilled workers.
Together, these changes to the BE workplace and workforce will ensure world-class houses, public works and an overall improved built environment — as well as improve careers in the sector.
They strategically build a better, even more vibrant Singapore that we can be proud to call home,
A roadmap for resilience
The uncertain times ahead require putting the BE ITM into action.
“We must decisively change the way we design, build, and maintain, so that we become more resilient, more productive, and more competitive,” explained Minister Lee to sector leaders at the BuildSG Leadership Engagement and Development (LEAD) Summit 2023 this past week (May 11).
The BE ITM focuses on integrating planning with design, advanced manufacturing practices and sustainable urban systems through decarbonisation. It will let Singaporeans seize more opportunities in the sector all along the value chain — precast plants for quick building construction at neighbourhood sites while working towards net zero carbon emissions, anyone?
Concurrently, the Government will learn from the world’s best BE practices alongside companies and workers.
“I am therefore very encouraged to see alliances of progressive firms working hard to transform your value chain,” said Minister Lee, referencing his recent diplomatic trip to Switzerland.
There, BE stakeholders make it a point to collaborate across the chain, pushing boundaries to, as Minister Lee observed, “create something of value that is greater than the sum of their individual parts”.
Opportunities in the Built Environment sector
Meanwhile, there are ample career opportunities for workers and students wanting to join the BE sector.
Talent in the BE sector needs attracting, nurturing and retaining, and the Government will do this alongside BE leaders.
Here, Minister Lee wants to change public perceptions of the sector: It is not about dust and danger these days.
“So much has changed, and so much will change,” he said.
“There are a lot more career opportunities in the sector that are exciting and tech-enabled through the building lifecycle. For instance, collaborative, digital design of buildings through Building Information Modelling.”
Workers will be paid fairly too; the Government worked alongside Trade Associations and Chambers to develop accreditation schemes that will help workers negotiate wages better.
As for nurturing the workforce, existing workers have a Skills Framework which guides them on how to continue their career journeys with training programmes.
Institutes of Higher Learning (IHL) students have Integrated Work-Study Diploma programmes with the BCA Academy.
Minister Lee also pointed to the Human Capital Diagnostic Tool by the Institute for Human Resource Professionals as a starting tool for helping the BE sector retain talent.
“When we speak to our BCA officers to find out why they continue in the sector and why they leave; more often than not it is HR,” he shared.
“Take for instance Teambuild, who was recognised as one of Singapore’s Best Employers in 2023. Teambuild has its own career mentoring programme for fresh graduates and provides their employees with support for reskilling and upskilling.”
A team effort means win-win outcomes
That was quite a few calls for everyone to cooperate when it comes to BE efforts.
The fact is, cooperation is needed.
Singapore is always a work-in-progress and the ability of the PAP Government to get employers, workers and the public sector working together swiftly took our nation from village to First World global city.
And it is a truism that cooperation creates a virtuous cycle of success. No matter whether in Switzerland or in Singapore, with Trade Associations or Teambuild.
As Minister Lee said:
“Working together, I am confident that we can strengthen the resilience of our Built Environment sector and workforce, and be ready for the things that may come.”