NParks expands student-run park initiative to Clementi Woods Park with Ngee Ann Poly following successful implementation with ITE at Bedok Town Park
12 Nov 2019
- NParks enhances ITE's landscape course curriculum with learning journeys and expert talks
- LIAS to provide hands-on training and mentorship for landscape students
The National Parks Board (NParks) today announced that it will be expanding the Student-Run Park initiative to Clementi Woods Park under a new collaboration with Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP). This follows the successful pilot Student-Run Park initiative at Bedok Town Park together with the Institute of Technical Education (ITE). To further enhance the learning opportunities for students and develop a pipeline of skilled younger talent who will invigorate the landscape sector, NParks is working with ITE to enhance its landscape course curriculum and will be involving the Landscape Industry Association of Singapore (LIAS) to provide hands-on training for students as part of their school curriculum.
These updates were shared at Bedok Town Park this morning, where the first batch of second year ITE students from the Higher Nitec in Landscape Management & Design course showcased the key areas of landscape and horticulture expertise they have been trained in with NParks’ support. Mr Desmond Lee, Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for National Development, attended the showcase, which included students demonstrating the applications of landscape design through a garden with therapeutic features and a nature playgarden, various trial set-ups such as a stingless bee hotel, composting and worm cast. The students also demonstrated the use of mechanisation and digitalisation tools such as the robotic mower for turf management, as well as using the Tree Registry System, telescopic camera and drone for tree inspections.
New Student-Run Park to be set up at Clementi Woods Park
To extend the benefits of hands-on training and skills development to more landscape students, NParks is working together with Ngee Ann Poly (NP) to strengthen its Landscape Design and Horticulture course through a Student-Run Park at Clementi Woods Park. This will leverage NP’s existing ‘Greenhub’ facility at the park to facilitate the on-site classes, and NParks will provide expertise with a focus on biophilic design, habitat enhancement and use of technology in greenery management. Projected to start in 2020, the new Student-Run Park at Clementi Woods Park will take a similar approach as the pilot initiative at Bedok Town Park.
Students will be trained to understand ecosystems, integrate ecological processes and incorporate the use of technology to prepare them for greenery management when they join the landscape sector. While enhancing their core skills in horticulture and arboriculture through science and technology, training will also focus on equipping students with ecological knowledge to understand the management of natural landscapes better. It will also provide hands-on opportunities for the students to conduct applied research and test-bed innovations in landscape management at the Student-Run Parks. Furthermore, students will also get first hand experience working with volunteers from the neighbourhood who are supporting the park. This will help to nurture the next generation of young professionals who are equipped to handle challenges in the landscape, horticulture and ecology sector. NParks is also exploring collaborations with other Institutes of Higher Learning so that a new generation of landscape talent can be developed to manage green spaces in Singapore.
Strengthening landscape education by imparting higher value skills and hands-on training
The pilot Student-Run Park initiative at Bedok Town Park is part of the enhanced Higher Nitec in Landscape Management & Design course. Other aspects of this collaboration include the introduction of park and tree management technology in the classroom, as well as a revised academic curriculum to include knowledge and skills in design, ecology and conservation, arboriculture and horticulture. Students learn about planting and reshaping landscapes to include native flora that support fauna, for example understanding which plants attract pollinators such as bees, butterflies and birds.
To enable students to better understand biodiversity and greenery issues and the real job applications of what they learn in the classroom and at the Student-Run Park, NParks is bringing ITE students on Learning Journeys to nature parks, Pasir Panjang Nursery, Jurong Lake Gardens, the Singapore Botanic Gardens Seed Bank, the OCBC Arboretum at the Singapore Botanic Gardens Gallop Extension, as well as NParks’ therapeutic gardens. NParks is also providing subject matter experts to share more about biodiversity and conservation.
Students are then able to apply what they learn and actively contribute to the Student-Run Park through projects with NParks during their school semester. These projects cover a range of subjects, from nursery management and propagation, to the role of plants in biophilic design, such as in a garden with therapeutic features or nature playgarden. Students will follow through the entire work flow process similar to an actual job setting, and be involved in tasks beyond the curriculum requirements, such as park facilities assessment, playground and equipment safety, machinery standards, as well as tree inspection.
Invigorating a new pipeline of talent for the landscape sector
To further augment the support provided for these youth, NParks will be working with LIAS to conduct hands-on training for the students. This will prepare them effectively for the jobs that they will take up after graduation. LIAS members will help to train and mentor the students. With this, LIAS will also be expanding its training offerings which currently focuses on industry professionals seeking assessment-only upskilling opportunities. Details on the training arrangements are being finalised and will be shared at a later date.