Inaugural Green Thumbs Landscape Contest Winners & Launch of Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) for the Landscape Industry
11 Nov 2006
The launch of the inaugural Green Thumbs Landscape Contest and Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) System for the landscape industry this morning marked a key milestone in the development of the nation?s landscape sector. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong presented medals to 24 individual and team winners of the Green Thumbs Landscape Skills Contest which was jointly organised by the National Parks Board (NParks), National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA). The first batch of 82 graduates who successfully completed the course for a WSQ Certificate in Landscape Operations also received their certificates from the Prime Minister. PM Lee later joined two landscape workers to prune a topiary at the launch event.
Speaking at the event, NParks? Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ng Lang said, "I am pleased that the landscape industry is one of the pioneering sectors to implement the WSQ system, developed in collaboration with WDA. We work in close partnership with NTUC and the industry to identify suitable people who can benefit from this new training framework. We believe this partnership to help upgrade the industry will be key in our vision to make Singapore a City in a Garden.?
Green Thumbs is an annual contest for landscape workers in Singapore to showcase their horticultural and landscape skills and abilities. Individuals and teams are assessed on their demonstrated landscape skills. Winners are judged on criteria such as quality management of worksite including work safety, pruning skills, planting skills, turfing skills, quality and timeliness of work in accordance with specifications, and teamwork. The contest aims to recognise the contributions of the landscape industry in developing Singapore as a City in a Garden. The contest will also boost the image and professionalism of the industry by setting work quality and skills standards for the landscape workforce.
The Landscape WSQ System is a joint initiative by WDA, NParks and the landscape industry led by the Singapore Landscape Industry Council. Landscape WSQ establishes national occupational standards for each landscape job function and maps out the skills progression pathways at each level (operation, supervisory & managerial). The training under Landscape WSQ leads to national qualifications that are recognised by landscaping employers. The system includes new and unique competencies that are aligned with the vision of a City in a Garden such as landscape management, maintenance and construction, arboriculture and interiorscapes to prepare the workforce for the upcoming projects in the landscape industry.
Landscape WSQ builds upon the National Skills Recognition System (NSRS) for the landscape industry and will replace it by January 2007. Workers with NSRS certificates that are fully aligned or mapped to the Landscape WSQ need not repeat the same training modules under Landscape WSQ.
WDA?s Chief Executive Mr Ong Ye Kung said: "The WSQ system is particularly important for the landscape industry where most of the workers do not have formal qualifications. With this system, workers can look forward to national qualifications from certificate to diploma levels, to keep themselves employable. Formal qualifications, plus a clear career path, will make this a more attractive industry for workers.?
NTUC?s Job Re-creation Department Director Mr Zee Yoong Kang said, ?To enhance the landscaping industry as a professional sector, we work with NParks and industry partners on Job Re-creation initiatives to redesign landscaping jobs through best sourcing, training, automation and image upgrading, so that Singaporean workers find landscaping jobs and salary more attractive.?
Mr Ng, NParks added, "The landscape industry contributed significantly to making Singapore a premier Garden City and an attractive city to live, work & play. We have made great strides in our effort to upgrade the industry in the last two years. Looking ahead, we will continue to work with our partners to raise the bar of excellence to get ready a pool of qualified landscape practitioners for key projects such as the Gardens by the Bay. Through this, we will realise our aspiration to become a City in a Garden with a unique world-class living environment.?