SINGAPORE — Consumers planning to engage interior design services in Singapore will now have a clearer idea on the level of expertise and professionalism, with the launch of the Singapore Interior Design Accreditation Scheme (SIDAS) on Friday (19 November).
Not only will the scheme act as a better regulatory framework for the city-state's interior design industry, but it will also provide opportunities for practitioners to regularly upgrade their skills.
"We see the accreditation as a catalyst for the rejuvenation and reorganisation of Singapore’s interior design ecosystem," said Keat Ong, president of the Society of Interior Designers, Singapore (SIDS) and SIDAS chairman.
“Our industry was plagued by those who gave the profession a bad name, the untrained or under-trained who masqueraded as interior designers but only to put in sub-par work or worse, incomplete work.
“SIDAS aims to eradicate such issues by classifying interior designers based on their qualifications and experience so consumers are clear who they are working with. Equally important is to nurture a culture of lifelong learning and up-skilling."
Three categories of accreditation classification
The scheme, which was unveiled by Minister of State for Trade and Industry Low Yen Ling at the National Design Centre, will see interior designers classified into three categories:
Interior Design Practitioner Class 1 (ID1): requires a degree in interior design/interior architecture and 24 months' working experience. Applicants will also be required to undertake an exam.
Interior Design Practitioner Class 2 (ID2): requires a work-study diploma/diploma/specialist diploma in interior design/interior architecture and 18 months' working experience.
Interior Design Practitioner Class 3 (ID3): requires a national ITE certificate (NITEC) in spatial design and 12 months' working experience.
The baseline competency for interior designers will be framed against the SkillsFuture skills framework for design. All candidates will also be required to complete a Professional Practice Course to complement their work experience.
Established practising interior designers can apply for accreditation under Phase 1 of the scheme from November to May. This phase will be assessment-based, where work experience in-lieu of academic qualifications can be considered.
Phase 2, from next June to May 2023, will see the accreditation open to recent interior design graduates. Students about to graduate can apply under Phase 3 from June 2023.
An accreditation committee will review all applicants before granting accreditation, and the committee will be appointed by Singapore Interior Design Accreditation Council (SIDAC), which consists of members from government agencies, industry practitioners and academics from Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs).
Academy to be set up to provide pathway for practitioners
To facilitate in the regular skills upgrading of the industry, the Singapore Interior Design Academy will be set up to provide pathways for practitioners - whether fresh graduates or design veterans but without the right qualifications - to get certified by SIDAS. The academy will also be working with IHLs to promote more lifelong learning opportunities.
"Even when one reaches the ID1 category, the learning journey doesn’t stop," said SIDAC deputy chairman Fann Zhi Jie.
"Through the Continuing Professional Development programme, accredited interior designers are encouraged to deepen their skills in their own tracks or gain knowledge in other areas in the spirit of growth and development. For example, someone well-versed in design may want to gain insights into technology.”
The accreditation scheme was welcomed by practitioners such as Vinc Loh, who has been an interior designer for over 20 years. While he started out in the industry without any proper qualifications, he worked his way into attaining a CET diploma in design (interior design) from Singapore Polytechnic this year.
"In the past, we’ve relied on the blind trust of being able to prove we were credible interior designers. With SIDAS, industry professionals such as myself will be able to provide increased assurance to our clients,” he said.
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