Launches first Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) for Digital Operations Talents (DOT) to help workers to remain employed

SINGAPORE – March 12, 2020

SFIC Institute, the training and skills development arm of Singapore Furniture Industries Council (SFIC) has today announced a series of training programmes to help workers, including professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs).

These programmes are for Singapore citizens or Singapore permanent residents, to enhance or acquire skills enabling them to stay employed and take up new career pathways to meet the rapidly changing economic and employment landscape. This is the latest in a slew of initiatives to help SFIC members deal with the current difficult business conditions.

Supported by Workforce Singapore (WSG), these courses focus on digitalisation and design to equip workers with new digital and design-centric skills that are relevant to market demands. Participating employers will get enhanced salary support of up to $6,000 for each employee for up to six months, and up to 90% course fees support for Singapore citizen /PR trainees sponsored by SMEs or mature Singapore citizen trainees aged 40 and above.

One of the programmes is, the new Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) for Digital Operations Talents (DOT). It is the first to include both new hires as well as extend support to workers currently employed in the furniture and lifestyle sector to pick up new digital skills in the furniture and its related industries. Existing PCP courses are aimed to place and train PMETs looking for a career conversion or career switch to occupations in the furniture and lifestyle industry.

SFIC Institute is the only organisation appointed by WSG for this programme targeted at the furniture industry.

“We want to be on the dot when it comes to providing timely assistance to our members. By introducing this programme now, we aim to help our members retrain and retain their employees as much as possible. Re-skilling and up-skilling during downcycles will build new capabilities, boost productivity and strengthen our members’ competitiveness. This will put them on a stronger footing when the upcycle comes around.” said Mr Steven Chew, Chairman of SFIC Institute and Vice President of SFIC.

Training Programmes for New Growth Trajectories 

Programmes by the SFIC Institute include:

1. Professional Conversion Programme for Digital Operations Talents (DOT)

Supported by WSG, this new PCP will place and train employees/PMETs looking for a career conversion to digital occupations such as e-marketer, social media executive, e-commerce executive or other digital related occupations in the furniture and lifestyle sector.

Successful applicants will go through 28 days of classroom training and on-the-job (OJT) training over six months.

2. Professional Conversion Programme for Designers (Furniture & Lifestyle)

PMETs looking for a career switch to occupations in furniture and lifestyle design such as furniture designer, product designer, interior designer and design related occupations in the furniture and lifestyle industry can apply for this PCP, which is supported by WSG. Successful applicants will go through 28.5 days of classroom training and OJT over six months.

3. Place and Train for Matured Workers

Supported by NTUC’s e2i, SFIC Institute also offers Place and Train programmes for matured workers (aged 40 years old and above) looking for a career conversion in furniture and lifestyle design such as sales executive, business development executive, retail executive and other non-design and digital occupations in the furniture and lifestyle industry. Successful applicants will go through 19 days of classroom training and OJT over six months.

Positive Response and Outcomes

SFIC Institute has received positive response to its training programmes. In a recent survey conducted by SFIC, more than 70% of respondents polled expressed interest to participate in the new PCP for Digital Operations Talents that will be conducted from May 2020. 

SFIC Institute has chalked up a successful track record in the last 10 years.

Since 2010, SFIC Institute has trained over 3,000 workers through WSQ programmes and placed Singapore citizens and permanent residents into the furniture industry through its placement programmes, such Creative Craftsman Apprenticeship Programme, PCP for Designers and Place and Train for Matured Workers.

Besides WSQ courses and placement programmes, SFIC Institute has also launched several new initiatives to help SMEs drive leadership transformation as well as acquire new skills and knowledge to adapt to the fast-changing business landscape.  These include the ASEAN Business Leadership Programme held in partnership with the London School of Economics and Political Science as well as Executive Masterclass in Contract Claims, Variations and Disputes for Built Environment, together with Singapore Polytechnic’s PACE Academy.

Taking up these courses has given trainees a second chance for a new career.

Mr Miles Jordan Nicholas, in his 40s, has been working in the wellness and education industry for the past 20 years, dealing with sales and technology-related solutions for his clients. He is now a sales manager with Sam & Sara, a furniture design company that designs and manufactures high quality, modern and timeless home accessories and furniture by combining traditional Indian craftsmanship, with new design ideas and expertise in mixing unorthodox materials.

Mr Nicholas said, “When I was looking around for a new opportunity, I did not imagine myself to be working in the furniture industry. Fortunately, when I came across this furniture company, Sam & Sara, I became fascinated with the furniture and lifestyle industry as well as the projects it was handling. I decided then to take the plunge into the unknown and signed up. I have learnt a great deal on the job with guidance from the company and the training provided by SFIC Institute in the Place and Train for Matured Workers programme. Now, I am a sales manager, handling various projects for the company. I am grateful the SFIC Institute courses have helped me gain new knowledge and skills to start a new career in a new industry which I feel passionate about. On top of that, the patience and enthusiasm of the facilitators have made learning fun and fulfilling. Although I have not been in the furniture industry for a long time, with the skills I have learnt, I can communicate with various stakeholders and do my job like an industry veteran.”  

Mr Ibrahim Bin Abu Bakar, in his 60s, was an advertising veteran for over 20 years before joining the furniture industry. He enrolled in the Place and Train Programme for Matured Workers four months ago in December 2019. He is now a Sales Consultant with the Furniture Club which markets affordable designer furniture in Singapore.

He said, “My passion for interior design is derived from my previous creative background as an Advertising and Marketing practitioner nearly 20 over years ago. To broaden my experiences, I have decided to join the furniture retail trade to seek new opportunities and Furniture Club gave me a chance by hiring me as its Project Brand Manager. The Place and Train course offered by the SFIC Institute further beefed up my knowledge. The programme not just sharpened my retail knowledge but also allowed me to share my years of experience with fellow course mates. With my creative and marketing background now enhanced by the Place and Train programme, I am confident it will definitely help me in my work through the ability to develop more focused strategies. The skills gained through the course will also boost my career.”

SFICAssist – Fifth SFIC Member Assistance Scheme

Being the first trade association to launch such a scheme, Mr Mark Yong, SFIC’s President said, “To help our furniture industry players deal with tough financial challenges during the current COVID-19 situation, the SFICAssist serves as a timely fiscal catalyst for them to not just survive the economic downturn but also prepare them for the upturn when it comes.

Supported by Enterprise Singapore under the SG Together Enhancing Enterprise Resilience (STEER) Programme, more than 300 Full members and Associate members who joined SFIC before 31 January 2020 will be eligible for the S$1.225 million scheme, which will be available from 1 April 2020 to 30 September 2021.

Members can draw on their allocated quantum to offset the cost of participating in SFIC Institute programmes as well.”

Courses and Application Details  

Course details are outlined in Appendix A.

Interested applicants/companies can visit or email to to apply/enquire.

About SFIC Institute

SFIC Institute, a subsidiary of the Singapore Furniture Industries Council (SFIC), was formed as a training and development initiative for the furniture industry in 2004. Privatised in October 2010, SFIC Institute ensures that the furniture industry’s long-term viability and sustainability goals are met through a holistic range of offerings comprising creative craftsmanship (carpentry), product design and development, retail, human resources, sales and marketing, production technology, customised programmes and consultancy services, logistics, and green initiatives. SFIC Institute partners various governmental agencies such as Enterprise Singapore, NTUC’s e2i, SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) and the Workforce Singapore (WSG) for funding support and to ensure that the Institute offers valuable, relevant programmes and initiatives to clients.

Media Contacts:

Stratagem Consultants Pte Ltd
Ms. Tham Moon Yee
Tel: (65) 6227 0502

Mr. Soh Tiang Keng
Tel: (65) 6227 0502

Mr. Asri Bamadhaj
Tel: (65) 6227 0502

Singapore Furniture Industries Council
Mr. Philip Pang
Tel: (65) 6505 9166