Equipping the built environment industry with future-ready talent

As the Built Environment industry undergoes rapid transformation due to the availability and adoption of sophisticated technology, the readiness of Singapore’s talent pool is key to drive the industry forward. In anticipation of this, SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) engaged Eden to support the development of a skills programme geared towards addressing future competencies needed for development projects adopting smart technologies, or ‘Smart Estates’. Smart Estates refer to highly interconnected estates which integrate the physical and digital layers of estates to create a proactive and predictive estate environment that enriches the community’s living experience. The Smart Estates Talent Development Programme (SETDP) by SSG and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), and supported by the Singapore Building Construction Authority (BCA), is part of the larger national Smart Estates Initiative.

As ‘Smart Estates’ is a pioneering concept, our work explored case studies of global innovations and development principles which could inspire future Smart Estate development. We also examined technology drivers, sociocultural and economic trends, and how they intersected with Smart Estate typologies. This review of the global landscape allowed us to futurecast five scenarios of potential Smart Estate development, for which we determined the requisite skills to that would be key to realize these scenarios. These skills included parametric modelling, computational design, artificial intelligence as well as advanced applications of Building Information Modelling (BIM). We also helped re-design existing job roles and imagine future job roles in line with the future competencies required, including both technical and behavioural competencies.

Validating and discussing our insights with businesses is central to ensuring the accuracy and relevance to industry. We facilitated a roundtable discussion with technology solutions providers across key future areas in Smart Estate Management (SEM) functions and applications such as video analytics, spatial intelligence, graphing, AI, and IoT. This allowed us to gain insight into on-the-ground business needs and explore the impact that SEM could potentially have on business, service, and operating models. We led SEM imagination workshops with four leading firms across the Built Environment value chain in the areas of property development, facilities management, construction and management, and consultancy to co-create a vision of SEM, surface business concerns, challenges, and future capabilities required. A total of nine future job roles were developed and validated through an iterative feedback process by representatives of the four lead demand generators. Brokering partnerships with these firms and securing their buy-in was critical towards guaranteeing SETDP’s adoption and industry impact.

The engagement culminated in the SETDP launch in November 2019 during which the organisations such as CapitaLand, CPG Corporation, EM Services Pte Ltd, International Facility Management Association – Singapore Chapter, Singapore Polytechnic, Singapore Institute of Technology, and Temasek Polytechnic signed a Memorandum of Understanding with IMDA and SSG to co-develop and pilot the SETDP for 300 Singaporeans over the next three years.

As Knowledge Partner of the initiative, Eden introduced the Smart Estates Talent Playbook as part of the launch. The playbook, freely available at [link] aims to better inform companies and professionals in the Built Environment sector on future hiring and training pathways for the sector in Singapore.

Created with Sketch. "For this engagement, we needed a systematic approach and methodology that allows us to map the global trends in smart cities and estates to what Singapore can capture in terms of opportunities. More importantly, we wanted to analyse the impact on changing job content and skills demand in order to capture those opportunities. We chose Eden because of its grounds up and practical approach yet holistic to cover not just economic and business but also social aspects of the analysis.

 

The whole team at Eden was fantastic, super accommodating and practical. The consulting team members were all hands on from Day One, right from conceptualisation to the validation and deep dives, culminating in the final delivery of the insights at a launch graced by SPS Low Yen Ling with Institutes of Higher Learning (IHL) Singapore Polytechnic, Temasek Polytechnic, and the Singapore Institute of Technology, as well as lead firms CapitaLand, CPG and EM Services being part of the launch.

 

Since the launch, the Smart Estates Talent Development Programme has started with IHLs like SP rolling out courses in collaboration with CapitaLand that is targeted at building our local workforce capabilities in smart estates. Talks are underway with more companies and IHLs and training partners coming onboard. SSG is also incorporating the findings into Jobs Skills Insights for the Built environment sector. We would definitely recommend Eden. Eden’s strong capabilities and team is definitely a good research partner that delivers great value!"

 

Chelvin Loh

Director

SkillsFuture Singapore