Skip to main content

Speech at Marking a Decade of Property and FM Career Conversion

Mr Lim Swee Say, Minister for Manpower, Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability

  1. I am happy to join you today, at the graduation of the 10th and 11th cohort of the Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) for Property Executives.
  2. In 2006, I attended the graduation of the first cohort of PCP for Property Officers.
  3. I am glad to see that this programme is still going strong.
  4. I am also happy to hear about the establishment of the FMM Industry Centre here at e2i.
  5. Facilities Management has a role to play in sustaining Singapore as a Global City.
  6. We spend a lot of money every year to build and upgrade our buildings, infrastructure and facilities. Same as many other cities in the world.
  7. However, what may be different is that we also spend a lot of efforts and resources to ensure that our physical assets are well kept and well maintained.
  8. This is why in some other cities, new buildings may look twice their age. But here, we work hard to ensure that our old buildings look half their age instead - functioning well with less disruption and breakdowns.
  9. Visitors notice it. We are proud of it.
  10. If not for the good work of Facility Management professionals and workers, we would not be able to stand proud on the global stage.
  11. Having come this far, we must strive to do even better in future.
  12. As we transform every sector of our economy to be more productive and innovative, we will need also to transform Facility Management (FM) in Singapore.
  13. We want to keep improving our capabilities.
  14. We also want to create better jobs and better careers for you, our FM professionals and workers.
  15. What is the scope of FM?
  16. It is not just about landscaping, security and pest control.
  17. It is much more – from management of facilities to maintenance of facilities; including management of projects and users, repairs & replacements, upgrading and renovations, alteration and addition work.
  18. I visited JTC recently to have a better understanding of the future direction of FM.
  19. I am impressed by what I saw.
  20. With smarter use of technology and multi-skilling of workers, productivity measured in sqm/staff has almost doubled in the past five years.
  21. This means becoming more manpower lean by making jobs easier, safer and smarter for our workers. As a result, our workers are more productive and motivated. They can be paid better and can advance higher up the career ladder too.
  22. During my visit to JTC, I looked at the J-Ops Centre, which they have been working on for about five years now. In terms of repair, they do not just respond to repair when a problem arises. With data analytics, they are able to predict which part of the building or which component of the system is likely to fail, so that they can focus their efforts on preventive maintenance without overspending.
  23. With the installation of sensors, when something happens, they are able to pinpoint almost exactly where it happens. So as a result, FM workers are able to respond quicker, sharper, and in a more targeted manner.
  24. As we continue to transform, I believe the sector has the potential to attract and retain more locals – with better jobs and better career prospect.
  25. In the past 10 years, RECA has helped 500 PMETs to switch careers into FM.
  26. One former graduate was a FX trader who underwent career conversion in 2011.
  27. After conversion, he was placed in a leading Managing Agent.
  28. Today, he has progressed to become a Complex Manager, earning about $5,000 a month (higher than national median wage).
  29. Another former graduate was an insurance agent.
  30. After conversion, he joined a leading Facilities Management Company.
  31. Three years later, he started his own Company and now manages 30 projects.
  32. To help more locals to convert and take up careers in FM, we need the support of all stakeholders.
  33. Today, about 25% of Managing Agents offer employment to our PCP trainees. We need more MAs to participate as PCP employers.
  34. We also need more of the FM service buyers to change their mindset.
  35. A key bottleneck we face today is that many FM service buyers require the MA to deploy staff with at least 2 to 5 years of FM experience.
  36. This is a requirement that PCP graduates are unable to meet. As a result, some MA are reluctant to take in our PCP graduates due to difficulties in deploying them to such clients (who require minimum 2 to 5 years of relevant experience).
  37. I hope more service buyers will value the skills, attitude and maturity of our PCP graduates instead of insisting on prior experience.
  38. I am glad that HDB and JTC, the two main statutory boards that own properties and need to use Facilities Management services, will lead the way in considering career converted individuals.
  39. HDB will revise its tender specifications to cater for career converted individuals.
  40. JTC will likewise take in career converted individuals, not just for their outsourced FM services, but for their internal FM roles too.
  41. I urge other major FM service buyers will also adopt these progressive practices.
  42. Let us give our career converted PMETs a fair chance, to adapt and grow their careers in FM.
  43. As we strive to transform Singapore into a Smart Nation, many of our buildings and properties will become smarter too.
  44. It is therefore timely that our tripartite partners are working together in the formulation of a Real Estate Industry Transformation Map, covering FM and other major aspects of the real estate sector.
  45. I congratulate the Career Converted Property Executives graduating today. I wish you every success in your new career in Facilities Management.
  46. Thank you.