SFIC Institute and WSG Unveil Third Professional Conversion Programme to Upskill Workforce for Advanced Manufacturing Opportunities

SINGAPORE – 2 June 2021 – SFIC Institute, the training and skills development arm of Singapore Furniture Industries Council (SFIC), today unveiled its latest Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) in collaboration with Workforce Singapore (WSG) to nurture a new generation of talents for advanced manufacturing opportunities in the furniture and built environment sectors.

The PCP for Interior Fit-Out Specialist aims to nurture a pool of highly skilled local specialists to provide project management and interior fit-out services such as customising and installing furniture on-site at commercial projects like hotels, offices and retail stores as well as private and public residential projects. This new training programme is expected to meet growing demands of the domestic interior fit-out business segment in the residential, office and retail sectors valued by SFIC at approximately $3 billion a year, and aims to place 70 trainees over two years with the first batch by July 2021.

Currently, the role of an installer is to assist in residential and commercial installation projects, by ensuring that the area is prepared before the actual installation, fitting out the cabinets and wardrobe. The Interior Fit-out Specialist role will be an enhancement to the job role of an Installer. This role would entail performing higher value tasks like client and project management, onsite supervisory, providing advisory on design and materials selection, as well as interpreting design works and translating them into production. These participants will also acquire knowledge in new construction technology, use advance construction methods in furniture making, which include CNC machines and Edge Bending Machines.

With access to a targeted database of more than 350 manufacturers, retailers as well as partnerships with the associations in the furniture industry, SFIC Institute aims to do a close matching for jobseekers with hiring employers.

Ms Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Ministry of National Development and SFIC Patron, said: "The furniture and furnishings industry has been impacted by the ongoing pandemic, with the fit-out sector facing a lack of skilled manpower resources. By retraining and upskilling our local talent with specific skillsets in interior fit-out, enterprises can build a pipeline of specialists who can support their growth aspirations. I encourage our furniture companies to participate actively in this PCP led and facilitated by SFIC Institute. This is a positive step towards transforming the fit-out industry and making it a more attractive career option for the younger generation.”

Endorsing the new initiative, 10 Singapore companies together with SFIC Institute have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to take on new hires of the programme.

WSG Chief Executive Mr Tan Choon Shian said, “Technology has accelerated the business transformation of this traditionally labour-intensive sector. Companies are using the opportunity to plug the manpower gap by offering better career opportunities. This PCP allows the next generation of installers to take on higher value roles in using advanced technology, and skillsets in client and project management . We appreciate the strong collaboration with our tripartite partners to help our workers with meaningful careers in the industry.”

SFIC President Mr Phua Boon Huat said: “The furniture industry has progressed from warm sawdust-filled woodworking environments to one that embraces automation and digitalisation. SFIC has been helping local players ride the digital wave and sharpen their overall competitiveness across all segments of their supply chain. Today's move is another step further towards injecting greater automation and expertise at the installation point of the supply chain. The programme is aligned with SFIC’s industry roadmap to establish Singapore as the Asian Hub influencing tomorrow’s sustainable urban living.”

SFIC Institute Chairman Mr Steven Chew said: “This latest PCP initiative will be part of an existing suite of holistic training and manpower programmes where companies can tap on to upskill their staff and help in their business transformations. Through tripartite efforts, SFIC Institute has received exceptional support from industry players and will continue working closely with them to facilitate the training and mentorship of more industry professionals in Singapore."

For more information, please contact

Casuarina Peck                                  
Tranz Communications
wendy_chua@wsg.gov.sg                                       

Wendy Chua
Manager, Media Relations, Workforce Singapore
casuarina@tranzcomm.com 

Joseph Rajendran
Tranz Communications
joseph@tranzcomm.com

Philip Pang
Head, Digital & Marcoms, SFIC
philip@singaporefurniture.com


About SFIC Institute

SFIC Institute, a subsidiary of the Singapore Furniture Industries Council (SFIC), was initially formed as a training and development initiative for the furniture industry in 2004. Privatised in October 2010, SFIC Institute offers a holistic range of offerings comprising product design and development, retail, digital marketing and analytics, human resources, sales and marketing, production technology, customised programmes and consultancy services, logistics, and sustainability.

Distinctive offerings such as its manpower training and placement programmes for interior fit-out specialists, digital operations talent, designers and matured workers are preparing workers for ever-changing socio-economic landscape and helping employers redesign key roles. Through such initiatives, the Institute continues helping the industry attract, groom and grow a pool of local workforce.

SFIC Institute brings valuable resources and exceptional service to each and every one of its clients in or beyond the furniture industry. Some of its clients include Benel, Catalyste, Cellini, Commune, Elmich, Facility Link, Falcon, First Sight International, Grafunkt, Grandwork, House of Teak, IDV Concepts, In-Expat, P5, Picket & Rail, Redwood Interior, Scene Shang, Sitra Global, Star Furniture, Sunjoy and Superstructure.      

SFIC Institute also partners various government agencies such as NTUC’s e2i, SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), Enterprise Singapore and the Workforce Singapore (WSG) for funding support and to ensure that the Institute offers valuable, relevant programmes and initiatives to clients.

Visit www.sficinstitute.com for more information.

About Singapore Furniture Industries Council (SFIC)

Singapore Furniture Industries Council was established in 1981 as the official representative body of Singapore’s furniture and furnishings industry. Its membership comprises furniture manufacturers, interior fit-out specialists, retailers, designers, as well as materials/ components/services providers. Currently, the council represents 95% of established furniture manufacturers in Singapore, of whom 65% have subsidiary manufacturing plants in various countries across the region, including China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.

As an aggregator and multiplier in the furniture eco-system, the SFIC plays an active role to grow and transform companies and the industry.  For over 39 years, SFIC has helped its members to adapt to changes in the business environment by introducing trade, talent, design development and business innovation activities, upgrading business capabilities and a focus on sustainability. Collectively, these programmes aim at supporting the SFIC’s vision for Singapore’s furniture industry – “To be the Asian Hub Influencing Tomorrow’s Sustainable Urban Living”.

Visit www.singaporefurniture.com for more information.

About Workforce Singapore

Workforce Singapore promotes the development, competitiveness, inclusiveness, and employability of all levels of the workforce. Its key mission is to enable Singaporeans to meet their career aspirations, take on quality jobs at different stages of life, and help enterprises be competitive and manpower lean. Workforce Singapore’s focus is on strengthening the Singaporean core and ensuring that Singaporeans are able to have better jobs and careers. Workforce Singapore, in partnership with key stakeholders, also provides support to business owners and companies to enable them to transform and grow, while building a future-ready workforce.

Visit www.wsg.gov.sg for more information.