Green spaces in Singapore will grow by 1,000 hectares over the next 10 to 15 years.
To manage this growth, the country would need a plan – A Landscape Sector Transformation Plan (LSTP) to be exact.
The LSTP is a 10-year roadmap launched by the National Parks Board (NParks) on 4 May 2019 to elevate and grow the landscape sector through digitalisation, mechanisation, and professionalisation.
And to grow the sector, we would need people who are skilled and familiar with new technology.
If all works out, the sector is expected to grow up to 30 per cent by 2030, both in revenue and value-add per worker.
As part of the plan, the LSTP will upskill the existing 12,000-strong workforce and grow a new generation of landscape talent.
Workers currently in the landscape sector will get training to understand ecosystems, integrate ecological processes and incorporate the use of technology to enhance professionalism competencies.
Meanwhile, the new generation of landscape talent will mostly come from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) after NParks sealed a collaboration with the institution recently. From July this year, students will get a revised academic curriculum to impart higher value-added skills and ecological knowledge.
There’s also a new initiative that allows students to gain hands-on experience in managing a park.
In addition to that, ITE will offer a new Work-Learn Technical Diploma in Arboriculture and Horticulture next year. The diploma’s curriculum is currently being developed by NParks, ITE and professional associations whose members are potential employers of the graduates.
New Skills Framework
If workers are the fuel for growth in the sector, then technology is the engine.
As part of the LSTP, NParks, SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), Workforce Singapore (WSG), unions, institutes of higher learning (IHLs) and government agencies have come together to develop the Skills Framework for Landscape.
The framework highlights relevant training programmes for workers that would facilitate digitalisation and the adoption of technology.
Emerging skills in the framework include automation for landscape operations, biophilic design and ecology in landscapes.
As part of the framework, job seekers will be able to explore career opportunities, and employers and training providers can assess trends and skill gaps to further transform the landscape sector.
Both SSG and WSG will use the framework as leverage to help companies redesign jobs and become manpower-lean.
At the launch of the plan, Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for National Development Desmond Lee said: “What we see today did not happen overnight. It took a lot of foresight, grit and hard work. Without our pioneers, we would not have the beautiful city in a garden we love and cherish today.
“But ultimately, the future depends on whether our next generation of landscape professionals is prepared to step forward and take up the mission of greening Singapore.”