Opening Remarks by Guest-Of-Honour, Ms Low Yen Ling, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Education, at the Soft Launch of Smart Estates Talent Development Programme

Published Date: 22 November 2019 12:00 AM

News Speeches

1. Good morning. I am pleased to join you today at the soft launch of the Smart Estates Talent Development Programme. This is a first-of-its-kind partnership to transform our technology, talent, and skills ecosystem to support the building of smart estates in Singapore. It is a significant talent strategy by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) under the Smart Estates Initiative, which aims to drive industry transformation, digitalisation, and new skills and talent models for the built environment sector. As you know, the built environment sector is one of the 23 sectors we developed Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs) for, and our agencies have been hard at work to develop these materials for the sector.

Developing Future Capabilities in Singapore's Built Environment

2. In our increasingly inter-connected world, digitalisation is driving every aspect of our day-to-day lives, and fast becoming ubiquitous in the estates and townships that we work, live and play in. The development of smart estates is not just using technology for the sake of technology, but to use technology to enhance our living environment and improve the quality of life. With greater access to technology and more innovative services, we will enjoy more intelligent mobility solutions as well as predictive maintenance – and that is really important for facility management. These are all improvements that can make life simpler and more convenient, and more productive.

3. IMDA's Smart Estates Initiative aims to help developers and built environment companies boost sustainability, operational efficiency and customer experience. In doing so, they can also testbed new and innovation urban solutions in Singapore to seize regional market opportunities. There is great potential in this market that our technologically advanced city-state can capture. In a way, we are like a living lab. Because we are a densely populated city state, if we use technology to our advantage, we can pilot urban solutions that can potentially be scaled to the region and beyond.

4. The development of Smart Estates will require companies to grow new capabilities, and this knowledge will have to be supported by the rise of new and emerging skills, as well as competencies across the entire built environment value chain – all the way from design, to the building and maintenance of estates of the future.

Smart Estates Talent Development Programme

5. It is therefore timely to refresh our approach towards talent development so as to support new jobs and skills required to build and maintain Smart Estates. SSG and IMDA, with support from the Building and Construction Authority (BCA), have jointly developed the Smart Estates Talent Development Programme to build a strong talent pipeline within the Smart Estates ecosystem. And I believe all the bosses present today will agree me that talent is the main differentiator – being able to recruit, develop and retain the right talent for the job. This is why we have collectively come up with the Smart Estates Talent Development Programme.

6. This programme has two main components. First, a talent playbook that identifies key industry trends, emerging jobs and skills for smart estates. Second, an innovative training programme to equip the workforce with necessary skills will be established. Let me elaborate.

Smart Estates Talent Playbook

7. SSG and IMDA, together with their knowledge partner, Eden Strategy Institute, have developed a Smart Estates Talent Playbook. Besides being aligned to the upcoming Skills Framework for Built Environment, the Playbook will also reflect a global scan of emerging areas and future scenarios of how Smart Estates might evolve. And I think this is one way to future-proof ourselves and the sector, and allow us to seize opportunities accordingly. It also showcases the impact of future trends on business models, capabilities, skills and jobs in smart estates. For a start, nine new and emerging job roles have been identified - these include the Digital Designer, Smart Estate Solution Architect and Smart Sustainability Manager. Companies and professionals in the sector, as well as those interested to join this industry, can use the talent playbook to guide their HR and training plan or career path. We hope that the Playbook will help companies and our workforce better prepare themselves for evolving global trends in Smart Estates.

Programme Pilot Training

8. The second component of the Smart Estates Talent Development Programme is training. As the industry constantly undergoes global shifts, it is imperative for professionals in this sector to keep up with their skills and stay ahead of the game in Singapore, in the region, and in the world. To help them maintain their edge, the Singapore International Facility Management Association (SIFMA), Singapore Polytechnic (SP), Temasek Polytechnic (TP) and the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), will develop and deliver a training curriculum that goes across areas such as ICT, Engineering Services, Design and Built Environment.

9. The trainees will benefit from a robust cross-disciplinary and skills-based curriculum that deepens their skills in design, development and management of Smart Estates through a blend of classroom training, on-the-job training and mentorship. The last few years of the SkillsFuture movement has really shown us that learning does not only take place in a classroom, but rather, takes place in a blended manner. A lot of learning takes place in the workplace as well, and that is why mentorship is such an important component.

10. On behalf of SSG, IMDA, SIFMA, and the IHLs I have mentioned, we welcome on board CapitaLand, CPG Corporation, and EM Services as the pilot batch of lead firms in this Smart Estates Development Talent Programme. They will each contribute different expertise and training focus according to their operations. For instance, CapitaLand will focus on training a team of digital community managers to connect online communities. Their estate managers will be taught how to use IoT sensors and predictive analytics to improve tenant experience and productivity for new developments like Rochester Commons. CPG Corporation will focus on expanding its team of digital designers and smart project managers to support new developments such as its new Baosheng Health-Tech EcoHub in Guangzhou, China. Working closely with the Town Councils in Singapore, EM Services will be building a team of smart estate solution architects and smart sustainability managers to transform its facilities management experience and move towards becoming an integrated solutions provider. And in so doing, leveraging on economies of scale to optimise resources and raise productivity.

11. The Smart Estates Talent Development programme will be open to existing employees of these three lead firms, as well as individuals looking to join these firms. The firms will provide real-life projects as part of the trainees' work-and-study curriculum and pilot a first run of the training programme. Subsequently, with the support of industry partners like SIFMA, the Smart Estates Talent Development programme will be introduced to the industry to expand the talent pipeline needed to drive the development of smart estates. Over the next three years, SSG and IMDA aim to train about 300 persons in areas like design and development, construction, operations and smart facilities management.


12. As we launch the Smart Estates Talent Development Programme today, we will also witness the signing of MOUs that formalise the strong partnerships between the Government, our IHLs and industry players to develop skills and talent for the sector. These important collaborations will not only equip our businesses and workers with the necessary capabilities, skills and competencies, they will also position Singapore well to build excellent future-ready estates so that people in Singapore can benefit from such future-ready infrastructure.

13. My warmest congratulations to SSG, IMDA and all the key partners in this endeavour. I wish you every success in your undertaking! Thank you.

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