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Built environment sector calls for more local talent

Thursday, 22 May 2014

- Better work environments and the adoption of good human resource practices are among key initiatives to transform the built environment sector

Singapore, 22 May 2014 - A five-year rebranding roadmap has been rolled out to attract and retain more local talent in the built environment sector. This comes amid a strong pipeline of construction projects, where a sustained pool of locals is needed to drive Singapore's urban development.

The roadmap was formulated by the Ministry of National Development (MND) and the Building and Construction Authority (BCA), in consultation with industry associations and institutes of higher learning (IHLs) in Singapore.

To transform the built environment sector, the roadmap looks at improving the work environment and enhancing human resource practices in firms. In addition, targeted outreach to females, teachers and students are aimed at generating greater awareness of built environment careers and attraction to the sector.

These new initiatives are on top of BCA's existing efforts to attract local talent, which include student competitions and career fairs, scholarship, sponsorship and apprenticeship programmes for students and job seekers.

At the BCA Awards ceremony today, the BCA and the Construction Industry Joint Committee (CIJC) comprising key industry representatives had signed a Memorandum of Understanding to show the industry's commitment towards transforming the built environment sector into a workplace of choice.

Under a voluntary pledge signing initiative, built environment firms including developers, architecture and engineering consultancies and builders who sign the pledge, will commit to adopting good human resource practices. These include the adoption of proper performance management and training programmes as well as enhanced staff benefits, performance-based remuneration and a formal awards programme to recognise individual or group efforts at work (please refer to Annex A for the full HR pledge checklist).

The BCA will also develop a good practice guide to assist built environment firms in improving their human resource practices. The guide will feature best practices adopted by industry stakeholders as well as available assistance schemes for firms to tap on for the development of their human resource competencies.

"There is a need to fundamentally change the way the built environment sector and its firms work in order to offer better work environment, good human resource practices and meaningful careers. This will help raise the profile of the sector to attract and retain more locals", said Mr Neo Choon Keong, Group Director of Manpower and Strategic Policy, BCA.

Creating a conducive work environment, especially in the area of pro-family arrangements, also plays a key role in attracting and retaining females in the sector.

"We want to attract more females to work in the built environment sector because they represent a relatively untapped source of local manpower. It is important for the built environment sector to gain a fair share of talents amid today's tight labour market", Mr Neo added.

Currently, females make up about 25% of the local workforce in the built environment sector.

The BCA will also implement a Teachers' Attachment Programme (TAP) to help teachers keep abreast with the latest developments in the built environment sector, to provide better career guidance to students.

Teachers will be exposed through attachments to built environment firms, site visits and networking opportunities with industry stakeholders. The TAP will also be customised to the teachers' areas of discipline.

The pilot phase of the TAP will be conducted for Institutes of Technical Education (ITE) lecturers teaching built environment courses starting this year. It will be rolled out gradually, for teachers at polytechnics and Junior Colleges.

Lastly, to enhance students' learning and help students gain a better understanding of built environment careers, structured internships will be introduced for polytechnic and university students in built environment courses.

The BCA will be developing guidelines for firms to enhance the learning value of internships for students, in consultation with industry stakeholders and tertiary institutions. Such guidelines will help firms focus on delivering the desired learning outcomes, as well as establish a recommended internship allowance and incorporate value-adding training as part of the students' internship.

Footnotes

About the HR Pledge (61KB .pdf)

Profiles of female engineers (27KB .pdf)

Profiles of companies with good HR practices (210KB .pdf

Welcome speech by BCA Chairman Mr Quek See Tiat at BCA Awards 2014 at Resorts World Sentosa

Portable document format version of the media release is also available (116KB .pdf).

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