Skills Framework for Design Preps for Future Economy

Skills Framework for Design Preps Future Economy

August 1, 2019

The recent Skills Framework for Design launch by Singapore Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing discusses five trends in the design sector that will impact manpower as early as 2025.

Jointly developed by the DesignSingapore Council, SkillsFuture Singapore and Workforce Singapore, the Singapore Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing says Skills Framework for Design will be an annual gathering of stakeholders from all industries to collaborate and promote skills mastery.

Its aim is to support the creation of a design-empowered economy and is an integral part of the Industry Transformation Map for Professional Services.

As a national resource, the Singapore Government says it will provide key sector information, career pathways, job roles, existing and emerging skills, as well as relevant training programmes required for job roles.

The Skills Framework for Design covers 25 job roles across four tracks – design, business, innovation and technology. The Skills Framework includes 18 generic as well as 48 technical skills and competencies, such as business model innovation, user experience design and design thinking practice.

This information is relevant for designers who want to deepen and broaden their skillsets, and non-designers who wish to be equipped with design-related skills to lead innovation at the workplace.

Minister Chan says a design-empowered workforce will drive innovation in Singapore.

“To stay resilient against changing economic demands, Singapore needs a skilled workforce to unlock new opportunities. The Skills Framework for Design is an important collaboration between the Government and industry to help companies stay ahead, leveraging design as a strategic asset for innovation. Designers and professionals from other sectors can now tap the Skills Framework to chart rewarding careers. This will help us grow a design-empowered workforce and build a robust, innovation-driven economy,” says Minister Chan.

The Skills Framework for Design is part of DesignSingapore Council’s broader Design Industry Manpower Plan to prepare and nurture a design-empowered workforce of the future that can apply design-led approaches to solve complex issues, across sectors.

DesignSingapore Council’s vision is for Singapore to be an innovation-driven economy and a loveable city through design by 2025. A national agency, The Council is a subsidiary of the Singapore Economic Development Board.

The Design Industry Manpower Plan also contains strategies that cut across the learning continuum – from General Education and Pre-Employment Training to Continuing Education and Training. It aims to help designers develop transdisciplinary skillsets and build a workforce with design sensibilities. Among the Plan’s other components are the recommendations by the Design Education Review Committee (DERC Report) introduced in early July 2019.

The report identified five trends in the design sector that it claims will impact manpower in the future economy:

Design as Catalyst. As more companies integrate designers into their teams, designers will need to possess deep knowledge not only in their specific craft but also in business and technology;

Cultural and Organisational Transformation. Designers play an important role in facilitating the development of human-centred problem-solving approaches to shape organisational culture based on empathy, communication and collaboration;

Systems Approach to Complexities. As businesses continue to recognize the value of design in navigating complex systems, designers must better understand cultural nuances, relationships and the human psyche to deliver thoughtful and meaningful experiences;

Design for New Technological Platforms. Designers are expected to be agile and versatile enough to design for omni-channels and must exercise empathy to create seamless solutions in a fast-evolving technological landscape; and

Sustainability and Ethics. Designers must be proficient in regulations governing data privacy, intellectual property, sustainability, diversity, inclusivity and accessibility.

The DERC reports suggests that these five trends in the design sector and the growth in demand for emerging design roles suggest a rapidly changing employment landscape. It recommends that all individuals need transdisciplinary skillsets to remain versatile in such an environment.

To achieve this, it proposes embedding essential design skillsets across different sectors and enhance Singapore’s education system across PET and CET. Accordingly, seven organisations have pledged to adopt the Skills Framework for Design, including PALO IT, Foolproof, Aleph, STUCK, DesignSingapore Council, METHODOLOGY and Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

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(Feature image of Singapore Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing and DesignSingapore Council Executive Director Mark Wee at the launch of The Skills Framework for Design, Singapore July 2019, courtesy of DesignSingapore Council.)


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