A total of $6.8 million invested to grow manpower capabilities of textile and fashion industry [Press Releases]
WDA Pioneers Move towards “Green” Fashion in Singapore with the WSQ Sustainable Fashion Programme and Fashionably Sustainable Competition
Singapore, 1 September 2011 – The Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) announced today that $6.8 million has been set aside to grow manpower capabilities of the textile and fashion industry. To do so, WDA has collaborated with the Textile and Fashion Federation (TaFf) to develop training initiatives under the Textile and Fashion Technology Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) framework, with an investment of more than $2.8 million. An additional $4 million has been projected to train another 2,800 workers over the next three years under this framework. In addition, WDA is spearheading the move towards “green” or sustainable fashion by jointly organizing the inaugural Fashionably Sustainable Competition with TaFf.
Mr Teo Ser Luck, Minister of State (MOS) for Ministry of Trade and Industry was the Guest of Honour at the grand finale of the competition today. Three winners were selected after a fashion catwalk where the designs of all seven finalists were showcased – the top two winners each won an entry pass to the prestigious Paris Fashion Week with a return air ticket and accommodation fully paid. Each also received $1,500 cash prize; another winner was selected for the Society of Dyers and Colourist (SDC) award, a United Kingdom, London competition, called the SDC International Design Competition 2011 that shared the same vision of sustainability. The winner won $500 cash prize.
Sustain Industry Competitiveness through Upgrading Manpower Capabilities
As the green trend gains importance in the global fashion market, the local textile & fashion industry requires new capabilities in implementing sustainable fashion practices to meet the needs of their customers which include key global brands and major department stores. To support this trend, WDA has spearheaded the development and incorporation of sustainable fashion training programmes into the Textile and Fashion Technology Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) framework.
Textile and Fashion Technology WSQ Framework
As the industry moves towards higher value-added activities in areas such as design and product development, global sourcing, supply chain management and merchandising, WDA is also developing programmes to support the manpower needs of the transformed industry. To date, more than 1,200 workers have been trained by the Textile and Fashion Industry Training Centre (TaF.tc) over the last two years. Some 180 trainees have attained full qualifications in WSQ Diploma and WSQ Advanced Certificates in Fashion Technology. Please refer to Annex B on the details of the Textile and Fashion Technology WSQ framework. Prior to the Fashionably Sustainable Competition, 44 of the participants completed the WSQ Manage Sustainable Fashion Value Chain programme which provided them with the foundational knowledge of sustainable fashion before embarking on their designs.
51 graduates completed the WSQ Diploma in Fashion Technology received their transcripts from WDA’s Chief Executive, Mr Wong Hong Kuan. Since August 2010, all 51 graduates have successfully secured jobs as merchandisers, designers, compliance executives, etc with companies in the textile and fashion industry shortly upon their graduation.
To attract a bigger pool of talent into the industry, WDA rolled out the Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) and the Global Fashion Talent Programme (GFTP) in December 2009. The PCP ensures that trainees transit smoothly into a new career in the fashion industry. The GFTP on the other hand, is an initiative that helps Singapore-based companies groom local talent to work in their overseas operations.
PCP and GFTP have successfully entered into its second year. WDA will offer up to an additional 150 training places under the programmes over the next three years to allow more local professionals to take up rewarding careers in the industry. Ms Lim Ai Lian and Mr Noor Afian are 2 of the pilot batch of 44 trainees who have benefited from PCP.
Mr Wong Hong Kuan, Chief Executive, WDA said, “The transformation of the textile and fashion industry has presented opportunities for the workforce to continue to build their knowledge and capabilities in this field. WDA will continue to develop new programmes in emerging skill areas with the industry to provide a pipeline of skilled talent to ensure that the industry continues to stay relevant and competitive to enjoy sustainable growth.”
Mr Wilson Teo, Secretary General of TaFf and Director of Teo Garments who sent several staff for WSQ training said, “With the support of WDA, many individuals have had the opportunity to upgrade their skills and knowledge especially during the downturn. The Textile & Fashion Technology WSQ framework has benefited the companies through enhancing workers’ productivity and efficiency.”
Mr Chen Yen Yeo Director of Tung Mung International Pte Ltd said, “Tung Mung International employs 10,000 workers in our satellite offices and factories in Indonesia and Vietnam. We like to employ Singaporeans to lead the overseas offices as they understand the local work ethics and pace, and will be able to imbue such practices in the work culture in our overseas offices. It is also easier for Singaporeans to communicate and coordinate work matters between the Singapore HQ and overseas offices. However, it is difficult to recruit locals with industry experience to work overseas. The Global Fashion Talent Programme has helped us to employ 3 locals and train them in our overseas offices in a structured On-the-Job programme. TaFtc has been excellent in providing relevant and comprehensive skills-based training in the WSQ Diploma under the Global Fashion Talent Programme before the new recruits are sent overseas for the OJT. The Global Fashion Talent Programme complements the industry’s push overseas to stay competitive in the global fashion business.”