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S$72 million to support manpower upskilling in the built environment (BE) sector

An additional $72 million will be set aside over the next two years to support manpower upskilling in the built environment (BE) sector, Minister of National Development Lawrence Wong said in a speech at the iBuildSG Scholarship and Sponsorship Ceremony on Tuesday (22 January).

The minister said that existing scholarship programmes with training grants and retention incentives will be enhanced under this initiative.

He said that the government will continue to sponsor deserving students to take up BE courses in Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs).

Currently, this programme is open only to polytechnic and ITE students. However, the government will extend the post-graduation development programme to university graduates as well.

In particular, all awardees will receive a $3,000 training grant which will enable them to attend courses to upgrade their competencies and skills after graduation. They can also look forward to receiving an incentive of $7,000 one year after completing their bond.

The minister then said that the government will also continue to support the training of technical personnel as well through the Building Specialist Sponsorship programme, which is offered by BCA together with companies, to attract, upgrade and retain Singaporeans in jobs at the specialist, supervisor and foreman levels.

The programme will be enhanced by extending the sponsorship period from 2 to 3 years in hope to allow students to attend longer courses such as the part-time Nitec, Higher Nitec and post-ITE development courses.

Mr Wong also said that a new iBuildSG Tripartite Committee will be formed to look at ways to attract, develop and retain Singaporeans in the BE sector.

This Committee will comprise members from IHLs, Trade Associations and Chambers, the unions and other key stakeholders.

He noted that the Tripartite Committee will work with IHLs to update their curricula so that it will be industry-relevant.  There will also be more opportunities for students to take part in structured internships, supported by meaningful learning outcomes and effective industry mentorships.

iBuildSG Club, which is an outreach initiative, will be launched in April  to introduce students in secondary schools and tertiary institutions to the built environment sector, such as through learning journeys and site visits.

There were total of 448 scholarships and sponsorship awarded by BCA and 108 industry sponsors at the ceremony on Tuesday.