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Singaporean cleaning & waste management sectors to be transformed
On Monday, Singapore's Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Masagos Zulkifli, unveiled the strategies and initiatives designed to create a vibrant, sustainable and professional environmental services industry, able to provide the services and solutions required to achieve Zero Waste and a clean environment.
More than 78,000 professionals and 1,700 companies in the cleaning and waste management sectors keep Singapore clean.
As demand for environmental services continues to rise, increasing manpower to meet the service demand is not sustainable, given the country's manpower constraints. Transforming the industry is necessary to improve productivity, promote growth and create better jobs for these sectors.
The National Environment Agency has worked with various Government agencies, industry, unions and other stakeholders to develop 33 initiatives across 12 strategies to transform the industry. These strategies and initiatives, outlined in the Environmental Services Industry Transformation Map, are aimed at:
* Driving innovation and wider technology adoption
* Upskilling the workforce to take on better jobs
* Improving productivity through better procurement practices, and
* Capturing value overseas
With the implementation of these strategies and initiatives, it is envisaged that by 2025, about 30,000 individuals in the environmental services industry will benefit from higher value-added jobs through upskilling and technology adoption by companies.
"In sustaining a clean and liveable environment, Singapore is also working towards the vision of being a Zero Waste nation," said Mr Zulkifli, "where waste is redefined and innovative technologies would be deployed in waste reduction, separation, recycling and treatment, to enable us to close the waste loop.
"The Environmental Services Industry Transformation Map will provide many opportunities for technology collaboration and adaptation across the cleaning and waste management sectors.
"Jobs will be enhanced as the future of delivering services via system-level infrastructure, such as pneumatic waste conveyance systems and autonomous machines, calls for new skillsets.
"Service buyers will also need to play their part by adopting outcome-based contracting which enables wider technology adoption to improve productivity in the cleaning sector. The shift in industry procurement practices will support more manpower-efficient work processes."
As part of the launch event, NEA signed Letters of Intent with seven INCUBATE partners. INnovating and CUrating Better Automation & Technologies for Environmental Services (INCUBATE) embodies the partnership between the technology providers and service providers, premises owners, and the Government, to collectively innovate and curate better technologies, solutions and innovations for the environmental services industry.
The Skills Framework for Environmental Services was also launched. It was jointly developed by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), Workforce Singapore (WSG) and NEA, employers, industry associations, unions, and education and training institutions, in support of the Jobs and Skills pillar in the ES ITM.
The framework covers five career tracks involving 24 key job roles. The five tracks are Cleaning Operations, Waste Collection, Material Recovery, Treatment and Disposal, and Environment, Health & Safety. The Skills Framework provides key information about the industry and identifies 46 existing and emerging technical skills and competencies and 18 generic skills and competencies.
It is a reference document for:
* Individuals who wish to upgrade their skills and prepare themselves for better jobs in the environmental services industry
* Employers to recognise the necessary skills and train their employees for career development and skills upgrading
* Education and training institutions to design programmes to address the sector needs in response to emerging skills and competencies such as Data and Statistical Analytics, Automation Research and Implementation and Robotics and Automation Application
As service buyers play a key role in the transformation journey, the ES ITM will also push for wider adoption of outcome-based contracting to improve productivity in the cleaning sector. The NEA has worked with the Ministry of Finance and other industry stakeholders to develop a Guide on Specifications for Outcome-based Cleaning Contract.
Training workshops and learning journeys will be rolled out to service buyers and providers to help them make the shift in industry procurement practices.
The transformation efforts of the ES ITM will ensure that the industry remains competitive and attractive. Businesses, including service providers, technology providers and service buyers, can look forward to opportunities for technology collaboration and adaptation, and optimise allocation of resources through the use of innovative solutions and data analytics.
The workforce can also look forward to better jobs, as the use of technology and automation will help to reduce routine and laborious tasks, allowing them to focus on other areas of work such as operating machinery or using data analytics to facilitate better service delivery.
To encourage greater use of technology and automation to increase the overall productivity, funding schemes that facilitate the development and deployment of innovative and smart technologies are available. The Government will also be introducing various funding schemes that are open to researchers and industry players to encourage greater use of technology and automation to improve productivity.
The NEA will also continue to work with key association partners, such as the Waste Management & Recycling Association of Singapore (WMRAS) and the Environmental Management Association of Singapore (EMAS), to encourage industry-level collaboration and support the transformation of the environmental services sector.
At the same time, it will work with SPRING Singapore and IE Singapore to enhance enterprise capabilities, and drive the adoption of internationally-benchmarked standards, to help more companies capture overseas market opportunities.
The Minister said that members of the public can play their part to care for the environment by practising the 3Rs (reduce, reuse and recycle), binning their litter and cleaning up after themselves.
"With the collective effort of all stakeholders and the general public, we can transform the environmental services industry into a vibrant, sustainable and professional one, providing services and solutions to help achieve our Zero Waste vision and a clean and liveable Singapore," he said.
14th December 2017