INSTITUTE of Technical Education (ITE) graduates in the construction industry can now aim for higher pay - on par with that of diploma holders - through a new BCA programme.
The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) will be partnering firms to employ and train ITE graduates to fill larger supervisory roles or specialised jobs in skills such as design work.
It will offer an alternative career path to the current BCA apprenticeships, which develop those with N- and O-level qualifications to become construction foremen in specialised Core trades such as plumbing, steel fitting and crane operation.
The programme is in line with the national SkillsFuture movement, which aims to integrate education, training and career progression.
Under this new programme, ITE graduates will be groomed to take on higher-level positions and earn industry-recognised certification. This includes the BCA's Core Trade Supervisor certificate and the specialist diploma in building information modelling.
Those who are certified could earn salaries comparable to that of diploma-holders.
The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has also awarded 163 scholarships to students pursuing built environment courses at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE).
This is the first time the BCA is awarding scholarships to ITE students, to draw them into the built environment sector, which has sustained growth prospects.
The BCA Built Environment ITE Scholarship covers a student's full course fees and provides a monthly allowance of $500 during their course of study. Upon completing their studies, scholars will serve a two-year bond with firms in the built environment sector.
Senior Minister of State for Education and Law Indranee Rajah revealed the initiative yesterday at an event, during which the BCA gave out 122 scholarships to ITE students.
The programme aims to target more than 280 ITE graduates from built environment courses who received scholarships from the BCA.
Mr Shi Qinshu, a 24-year-old building information modelling apprentice who graduated from ITE's Nitec course in space design (interior and exhibition) last year, said he plans to find out more about the programme.
"I want to gain more knowledge and experience in this sector," he said. "I hope that if I can become more skilful in an area, I will be promoted."
In a recent manpower survey by the BCA, more than half of the 1,000 built environment firms surveyed indicated that, to cope with the sector's booming prospects, they are planning to hire this year, with jobs including site supervisors and foremen that ITE graduates can apply for, in strong demand. The companies intend to fill at least 60% of their job vacancies with locals.
Dr John Keung, CEO of BCA said: "The ITE Scholarship is an important initiative to attract and bring in a sustained pipeline of local talents at technical and supervisory levels for the built environment sector. The ITE graduates will play a key role in helping to steer technological advancement and productivity improvements in the built environment sector."
Mr Bruce Poh, Director & CEO, ITE, shared, "ITE students are well-equipped with hands-on skills and knowledge to play a key role in shaping the future landscape of the built environment. The scholarship will provide them with a clear and structured progression pathway and give them an impetus to contribute towards the growth of the sector."
Muhammad Asyraf, a student from the Nitec course in Facility Technology (Air-Conditioning & Refrigeration) at ITE College East, believes that the BCA scholarship will provide financial relief and pave the way for his future career in the built environment sector. He became interested in facility management to pick up skills in mechanical and electrical components, which had helped him save costs in repairing electrical home appliances.
About one in four recipients of the ITE scholarship this year are females. Hannah Zhang, an ITE College West student from Higher Nitec in Electrical Engineering course said that the electrical engineering course at ITE offers her practical skills in the operation and maintenance of electrical installations. This prepares her for employment in technical and supervisory roles in the built environment sector. She hopes to contribute to the built environment by making buildings more energy efficient and reducing its carbon footprint.
"The built environment sector offers new entrants many opportunities and good career prospects. For those seeking meaningful careers, they can make a positive impact to the built environment by spearheading the sector's push for a greener and more inclusive built environment. The young and technologically savvy will also get to work with advanced and game-changing technologies as the sector uses more advanced and productive construction methods," added Dr Keung.