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Business Study Tour to Singapore

16th - 19th January 2013

A joint delegation comprising Environmental Contractors Management Association (ECMA) and the Hong Kong Pest Management Association (HKPMA) visited our Singaporean counterpart; Environmental Management Association of Singapore (EMAS) for an industrial experience exchange in January 2013. Delegates were rewarded and inspired via an exchange of experiences with trade representatives and government officials of Singapore covering Cleaning, Pest Management and Waste Management.

Day one was a fruitful day. First delegates enjoyed a presentation by the National Environment Agency (NEA). Delegates were briefed on the Enhanced Clean Mark Accreditation Scheme, which was jointly developed by government parties with consultation from industry’s representatives and unions. It aims to recognize companies that deliver high standards of cleaning service through the training of workers, use of equipment to raise the overall standards and professionalism of the cleaning industry through better employment practices and productivity initiatives, together with a new accreditation requirement on progressive wages. The scheme has been continuously revised, after taking consideration of industry’s feedback.

This was followed by another presentation conducted by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA), giving an overview of Environmental Cleaning Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ), which is a national credentialing system ensuring workers acquire skills needed by employers at the workplace and, workers in return use WSQ to upgrade their skills which helps them plan their careers.

Our visit to the Competency-based Learning & Development (CBLD) Centre was another inspirational experience demonstrating how innovative teaching aids enhance training tailor-made for the cleaning industry.

The CBLD Center is a training provider and Program Partner appointed by The Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) for WSQ; it focuses on skills development for the Cleaning Industry at a national level. Innovative teaching devices, such as interactive whiteboard with SMART camera and SMART response system enable students to learn easily with enjoyment. Unlike traditional training, which tends to place more emphasis on written training materials, notes and writing tests, this training caters for a workforce with a limited academic background. 

Afterward, the delegation had a site visit to the pest control and management lab at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), a principal provider of career and technical education and key developer of national occupational skills certification and standards to enhance Singapore's workforce competitiveness. Delegates were briefed on pest licensing in Singapore, and were informed that how process-by-process training evoke learners to better understand pests before controlling and managing them. The lab is well equipped, from tools and equipment to interactive training materials, and a variety of specimens demonstrating a pest’s various stages of their life-cycle, allowing the learner to be practically trained with on-the-job knowledge.

Tuas South Incineration Plant (TSIP) was the last stop of this business trip. This facility is Singapore’s largest refuse incineration plant, which was built with state-of-the-art technology, designed to incinerate 3,000 tonnes of refuse daily. The incineration process controlled and monitored by advanced technologies such as the Digital Control System (DCS) enhances the efficiency of operations through a higher degree of automation. Delegates were impressed with its well established main plant equipment and its effective control of odours.

During these few days in Singapore visiting several institutions and meetings with their experts, government officials and industry representatives, delegates were very impressed with the dedication of the Singapore Government to enhancing the development of the workforce’s skill-set. The outcome from the view point of a visitor is indeed impressive and growing in a progressive manner. The keys to the Government’s success are good planning and an open-minded attitude expressed through actively communication, listening and to be able to take risks in adopting the best options for catering to concerned parties in a comprehensive way. Truly, this would give us all an insight into building our own successful pathway for industry development in Hong Kong