Opening Address by MOS Zaqy Mohamad at International Built Environment Week 2019: Breakfast Talk for CEOs

Sep 6, 2019 10:36

A very good morning to all of you. 

I’m delighted to be here today at the inaugural International Built Environment Week (IBEW). The IBEW is the first-of-its kind and biggest Built Environment (BE) event in the region, a platform for learning and networking, showcasing the best practices and technologies. 

I hope you have found the past two days rewarding. We have seen exciting innovations and collaborations at the BE Connect and the Built Environment Accelerate to Market Programme Demo Day. I was also inspired by the creativity and imagination shown by winning entries from students who took part in the International Building Design Competition. It is indeed an exciting time for the industry, and we have much to look forward to.

Transformation of the BE sector

It is apt that the theme of this morning’s Breakfast Talk is the ‘Transformation of the Built Environment Sector’. This underscores the aspirations we have to transform our sector into one that is productive, high-tech, and future-ready. As leaders and decision makers in the industry, you all play an important role in steering the course for our transformation journey. A key aspect of transformation is building a competent and forward-looking workforce who will take our industry into the future. 

At the BCA Awards in May, we launched the iBuildSG Leadership Engagement and Development (LEAD) Framework, which was jointly developed with the industry to groom a core group of committed and forward-thinking sector leaders. In time, we hope to nurture the next generation of leaders and decision makers like yourselves who are forward-thinking, keen to innovate, and have an internationally-minded outlook. 

LEAD Horizon and Milestone Programmes

The new LEAD Horizon & Milestone Programmes will develop leaders to do just that. The programmes have been specially curated for emerging and senior-level industry leaders respectively, to sharpen their focus on innovation, cultivate collaborative leadership and instil a global mindset for internationalisation.

BCA recently launched the inaugural run of the LEAD Horizon Programme last month. The programme organised by SMU and SUTD will benefit 25 young emerging leaders by honing their leadership skills and learning about innovative and agile business practices.

In addition, we will also be welcoming the first cohort of 20 senior-level leaders next month to the LEAD Milestone Programme. The programme will include a stint at Imperial College London, which will focus on systems engineering, innovation management and strategic leadership. They will also gain in-depth knowledge of key growth regions through an overseas immersion programme in Asia. 

I commend the companies that have signed their leaders up for these programmes. You have demonstrated commitment to leadership development, which is at the core of business sustainability. 

Building a pipeline of new talent

Besides leadership development, it is also important to build a pipeline of new talent to support transformation. BCA, together with the support of companies and TACs, has been attracting top students from Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) to join the sector through structured internships and our iBuildSG scholarship and sponsorship programmes. It is encouraging to see that our sector continues to attract bright and promising talent who are passionate about the built environment. 

Ms Koh Mun Yen is one such promising scholar, who has been passionate about architecture since she was young. She received a Diploma with merit in Landscape Architecture at Singapore Polytechnic, and graduated in the top 5% of her cohort. In addition to her academic achievements, she gives back to the community by mentoring secondary school students, for which she was awarded the Outstanding Mentor Award and International Mentoring & Tutoring Silver Award during her polytechnic days. 

Subsequently, she was awarded the BCA-RSP iBuildSG Undergraduate Scholarship to study Architecture at NUS. Mun Yen will join RSP Architects upon her graduation in 2020. She aspires to create new and refreshing designs for buildings, and obtain her certification as a Registered Architect and Qualified Person. Talented and community-minded individuals like Mun Yen represent the future of our industry. We look forward to seeing their creativity shape Singapore’s future skyline.

We have also been recruiting mid-career entrants to supplement the industry’s Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians (PMETs), through WSG’s Adapt and Grow (A&G) initiatives. Last year, BCA introduced the Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) for BIM Professionals, and more PCPs are being developed for DfMA and other in-demand areas. Indeed, as we move into the era of Integrated Digital Delivery (IDD), our transformation presents many opportunities not only for mid-career entrants, but also for individuals within the Built Environment sector who are continually learning and upgrading their skills.

Mr Alvin Fong is one such person who is passionate about his work. Alvin joined Kimly Construction as an assistant BIM manager in 2016, and started pursuing a Part-Time Diploma in Construction Engineering, co-funded by his firm. Subsequently, he was also promoted to a managerial position, and now oversees a team of 30 persons. Apart from taking on supervisory roles, his job scope has broadened to include more IDD aspects, coordinating designs from all disciplines and connecting stakeholders such as fabricators and facilities managers, throughout the construction and building life cycle. He is also proud to be part of the team to implement Kimly's first PPVC project. 

I am heartened to see individuals coming forward to lead the transformation. In the process, they give their careers a boost, and take their companies and the industry to greater heights.  

Ensuring career progression in the BE sector 

To attract and retain talent in the sector, we also have to ensure that there are meaningful avenues for career development for our professionals. To this end, BCA, SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), and Workforce Singapore (WSG) are working closely with TACs, employers, unions and education training providers, to jointly develop a Skills Framework, which will chart out clear career progression pathways for key job roles in our sector. 

The Skills Framework, which is targeted to be launched next year, will create a common skills language for the industry. It will highlight the skills and competencies required for career development, and identify training opportunities available to gain these skills.

We are also working with IES and the industry to develop a national engineering career progression pathway for technologists and technicians. This will give more recognition to skills and competencies acquired from engineering work experience and Continuing Education and Training.

Developing exciting career progression pathways will help to attract talent into your companies and propel the industry forward for the future. I encourage you to share your views and input with BCA in developing the Skills Framework.


Our transformation journey is for the long-haul, and we should undertake this with a collaborative spirit and forward-thinking mindset. Workforce development is crucial in our transformation journey. As decision makers, C-suite leaders like yourselves are in the best position to drive this. This will help our sector remain competitive locally and regionally.

We will be hearing from experienced industry leaders on the panel after this, and I hope that this will provide everyone with food for thought for a meaningful discussion later.  I wish everyone a fruitful session.

It has been a wonderful week with many fruitful developments. I want to thank the organisers and all our partners for making this a successful event. Thank you.