The Singapore Furniture Industries Council (SFIC) has unveiled new talent development initiatives to sharpen the industry’s capabilities to meet future market needs.
The three-year roadmap includes a structured training ecosystem which will attract younger individuals into the industry and help workers above 40 years to acquire new skills through a new Place-and-Train Programme for Matured Workers. The industry will also set up its own accreditation scheme to maintain and improve quality standards.
“The transformation of the furniture industry now is timely as we can take advantage of the current softer market conditions to review and revitalise for future growth,” said Mr Lee Yi Shyan, Member of Parliament (MP) for East Coast GRC and former Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Trade & Industry.
He added that this will be an opportune time to enable local companies to exploit the benefits from the Asean Economic Community (AEC) and other multilateral trade agreements signed between Singapore and its trading partners.
Mr Lee was also recently appointed as advisor to SFIC. He will advise SFIC on strategic issues to further develop the industry, as well as help strengthen working relationships with related government and trade agencies.
“These initiatives are essential for the industry to remain competitive and sustainable. While the furniture industry continues to enjoy positive growth, it also faces significant challenges from pricing pressures, external competition and the lack of skilled talents,” said Ernie Koh, president of the SFIC. “The industry, which has gone beyond just carpentry, will need to change from production and retail-based to a knowledge-based and high value-added industry.”
The Singapore furniture industry grew 7.4% from 2012 to 2015. As of last year, it generated some S$6.25 billion in sales.
The new capabilities development blueprint will be developed closely with the DesignSingapore Council, International Enterprise Singapore, SPRING Singapore, National Trades Union Congress’ e2i (Employment and Employability Institute), Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) and other related agencies. SFIC’s training arm, SFIC Institute, will also be a major partner for the training courses.
Said Mr Koh, “Building talent across different age groups and from different industry backgrounds will not only serve our industry today, but also make us future-ready.”