New courses for those eyeing switch to built environment sector

Education Minister Lawrence Wong (second from right) being briefed by Singapore Polytechnic senior lecturer Chris Ho while observing a class for one of the new courses yesterday. Also present were SkillsFuture Singapore chief executive Ong Tze Ch'in
Education Minister Lawrence Wong (second from right) being briefed by Singapore Polytechnic senior lecturer Chris Ho while observing a class for one of the new courses yesterday. Also present were SkillsFuture Singapore chief executive Ong Tze Ch'in (in background) and the polytechnic's principal and CEO Soh Wai Wah (right).ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

Mid-career workers can soon sign up for more than 10 new courses that will help prepare them to take up jobs in the built environment sector.

The courses on offer are in areas such as construction and facilities management, security and environmental services.

About 900 places are gradually opening from this month for those who wish to sign up for the courses, SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) said in a statement yesterday.

The courses are being rolled out as part of the SGUnited Skills Programme - a full-time training initiative lasting between six and 12 months, and which is tailored for those who want to upgrade their skills while looking for a new job.

Training providers, such as the BCA Academy, Institute of Technical Education, National University of Singapore and Singapore Polytechnic, are lending their support to help make these training places available, the statement added.

SSG chief executive Ong Tze Ch'in, speaking to reporters at Singapore Polytechnic yesterday, said there are different types of courses covering several other sectors.

"We are closely watching demand and interest from job seekers, and we are prepared to adjust as required, depending on where the interest is, and where the skill sets of those who are joining us are," he said.

Yesterday, Education Minister Lawrence Wong, during a visit to Singapore Polytechnic, observed how a class for one of the new courses was conducted.

He saw how trainees taking the specialist diploma in building information modelling (BIM) management were taught to use a computer programme to design a building virtually.

SSG said it is working with training providers and industry leaders to ensure the courses are designed to equip trainees with in-demand skills that companies are looking for now.

The specialist diploma in BIM management is a 12-month course that costs $1,000 - and trainees can use their SkillsFuture credits to offset the fee.

 
 
 
 

As part of the initiative, SSG and Singapore Polytechnic also have a tie-up with real estate giant CapitaLand and infrastructure firm CPG Corporation to prepare trainees for job opportunities in digital design, project management and smart facilities management.

CapitaLand and CPG Corporation also plan to snap up new hires from the pool of trainees once they have completed the course.

Ms Violet Chew, 45, who used to draw up electrical plans in her previous job as an electrical drafter, was among those attending the BIM management class yesterday.

She said she was retrenched in June and has found it difficult to get another job in the construction industry.

"I decided to take up this course to enhance my skills and open up more options for myself, apart from being a drafter," she said.

"This course will help enhance my knowledge, especially in the area of management and coordination, as well as technical skills."

Since the launch of the SGUnited Skills Programme last month, more than 10,000 training opportunities have been rolled out, and nearly 700 trainees have enrolled in 40 courses.

Mr Ong of SSG said: "The SGUnited Skills Programme was designed for mid-career workers, and I'm heartened to see that more than 50 per cent of the enrolments are for persons aged 40 and above. So, I think that's a sign of good progress."

He added that nearly 10,000 more applications are still being processed for courses that have yet to start. "We will do our very best to meet market demand," he said.

Other institutes of higher learning have already started offering courses in other sectors as part of the programme.

Singapore Management University last month announced courses in business and environmental sustainability, innovation and digital transformation.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 28, 2020, with the headline 'New courses for those eyeing switch to built environment sector'. Print Edition | Subscribe