Digitalisation continues to be critical to enhance operational efficiency and productivity, and to build a resilient workforce for the Environmental Services industry
SINGAPORE – 22 APR 2021
The National Environment Agency (NEA) and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) have refreshed the Environmental Services Industry Digital Plan (ES IDP). The IDP now covers the pest management sub-sector as well, in addition to cleaning and waste management. New digital solutions for the ES industry have also been added. These enable the Environmental Services industry as a whole to look forward to a more employable workforce, such as preparing multi-skilled professionals who can move across various sub-sectors. Businesses can also synergise cleaning, waste management and pest management services to reap greater efficiency and productivity.
With manpower challenges across the cleaning, waste management and pest management sub-sectors, companies need to constantly improve the way they work and deliver their services. The demand and expectations of these environmental services will continue to rise, as evidenced by the COVID-19 pandemic. Transforming the industry to be more productive is therefore critical to ensuring continued delivery of environmental services to provide a clean, liveable and sustainable environment in Singapore.
The refreshed ES IDP helps ES Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) address these challenges. Digital solutions incorporating newer and more advanced technologies such as robotics, augmented and virtual reality as well as blockchain have been included, as their commercial applications are now more mature and readily accessible. Some of these solutions are now relevant even for SMEs at an earlier stage of their growth. SMEs can tap on the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) for the ES industry to adopt pre-approved digital solutions recommended in the ES IDP. Using the PSG, eligible companies can be supported with up to 80 per cent of the qualifying cost, capped at S$350,000, until 30 September 20211. As at 4 April 2021, 1,515 PSG applications have been approved for 518 companies and about S$36 million of the PSG has been committed.
To ensure that the ES workforce is adequately equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to adopt digital solutions, companies can refer to the Digital Roadmap on Training in the ES IDP, which includes the type of courses available to equip their employees with the relevant skills and knowledge. Since 2019, NEA has worked with partners to develop short courses for members of the ES workforce to learn more about the use of digital technology in environmental services. An example is the ‘Introduction to Digital Technology in Environment Services’ course offered by the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), which includes robotics and automation, as well as software and management systems2. Ngee Ann Polytechnic also offers a course on Digitalising Environmental Services. To date, about 200 people have attended both courses.
Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment, said, “The COVID-19 situation has underscored the critical role of the Environmental Services industry in safeguarding public health, and provided an impetus for companies to improve their operations to become more efficient and productive as they experience an increase in demand for their services while facing manpower constraints. For example, the adoption of technologies and digital solutions such as cleaning robots and smart toilet systems has not only led to higher productivity, but also enabled companies to upskill their workforce and enhance jobs. The refreshed Environmental Services Industry Digital Plan which now includes the pest management sub-sector is yet another milestone in our efforts to transform the Environmental Services Industry. We encourage companies to tap into the refreshed Environmental Services Industry Digital Plan to build a future-ready workforce.”
The ES IDP was first launched in 2018 and forms part of IMDA’s SMEs Go Digital programme that aims to make going digital simple for SMEs. It includes a three-stage Digital Roadmap, which charts out the digital solutions that SMEs can adopt at each stage of their growth. Larger enterprises can also use the Digital Roadmap to guide their digital journey. The Digital Roadmap on Training will also be continuously updated to ensure that the industry’s workforce is adequately prepared with the necessary skills and knowledge to adopt digital solutions, so that they are ready for changes that come with digital transformation (refer to the Annex for more information on the refreshed ES IDP).
The IDP will be updated over time as the industry progresses and new, more relevant technologies are introduced. NEA will continue to work with partner agencies to champion initiatives to attract and retain local talent, upskill the workforce and accelerate technology adoption. Together with the support of the trade associations, we can build stronger businesses and enhance jobs in the ES industry.
About National Environment Agency
The National Environment Agency (NEA) is the leading public organisation responsible for ensuring a clean and sustainable environment for Singapore. Its key roles are to improve and sustain a clean environment, promote sustainability and resource efficiency, maintain high public health standards, provide timely and reliable meteorological information, and encourage a vibrant hawker culture. NEA works closely with its partners and the community to develop and spearhead environmental and public health initiatives and programmes. It is committed to motivating every individual to care for the environment as a way of life, in order to build a liveable and sustainable Singapore for present and future generations.
For more information, visit www.nea.gov.sg.
About Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA)
The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) leads Singapore’s digital transformation with infocomm media. To do this, IMDA will develop a dynamic digital economy and a cohesive digital society, driven by an exceptional infocomm media (ICM) ecosystem – by developing talent, strengthening business capabilities, and enhancing Singapore's ICM infrastructure. IMDA also regulates the telecommunications and media sectors to safeguard consumer interests while fostering a pro-business environment, and enhances Singapore’s data protection regime through the Personal Data Protection Commission.
For more news and information, visit www.imda.gov.sg or follow IMDA on LinkedIn (@IMDA), Facebook (@IMDAsg) and Instagram (@IMDAsg).
(Ms) Hazel Wee
(Corporate Communications Division)
National Environment Agency
DID: (65) 6731 9737 / (65) 9877 3074
(Mr) Tan Shou Qun
(Corporate Communications Division)
National Environment Agency
DID: (65) 6731 9355 / (65) 9168 5014
(Ms) Chloe Choong
(Communications and Marketing)