Wednesday, 13 February 2013

More professional positions in retail, F&B to help build S'porean core

By Saifulbahri Ismail, Channel NewsAsia, 11 Feb 2013

Fresh university graduates and diploma holders will have more opportunities to embark on a career in the retail and food and beverage (F&B) sectors.

14 companies have received funding approval under the National Trades Union Congress's (NTUC) Core Executive Programme launched in September 2012.

These small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) will be hiring more than 100 management trainees in the months ahead.

The programme is part of the labour movement's initiative to build a Singaporean core in the service sectors.

Attracting and retaining white-collar Singaporeans is a challenge for restaurant chain Paradise Group.

Graduates shun restaurant jobs because of long hours, lack of training and slow career growth. The Paradise Group hopes to change that with the Core Executive Programme.

Chief Operating Officer Edlan Chua said the company recently hired a graduate and will recruit nine more.

He said: "We will put them through the various departments to understand and observe how each department works, like finance to marketing and communications to projects to procurement. So, basically to understand all the HQ departments processes, thereafter to go down to operations to further understand how each department interlinks."

Under the programme, the company is required to develop a structured training programme. Companies can then shorten the learning curve of new hires to about one year.

The worker gets a monthly pay of at least S$2,500 during training. In addition, a S$5,000 bonus is offered to the worker after he or she completes the training.

Yeo Guat Kwang, Director of NTUC, said: "it is important for us to work with the company to reassure our younger generation who are entering the workforce that in fact, these are good jobs and we can structure it in a way that they will also be able to join in without as much hassle as faced in the past."

Through funding from Spring Singapore, companies get a subsidy of up to S$21,000 for each local graduate they hire and train. The subsidy for diploma holders is S$15,000.

Companies which have received funding for the programme are expected to begin hiring soon. Some of the companies are going to universities and polytechnics to hold career talks.

With the vacancies available now, Mr Yeo is hopeful that more will apply to work in these sectors with SMEs.

He said: "it is important for us to not look at the size of the company, but rather the career development plan that the company can offer. In fact, some of the small and medium-sized enterprises also have a very good career development path that a fresh graduate can seriously consider."

Another 30 more SMEs are awaiting funding approval from Spring Singapore.

The labour movement said it is also important to tap on more experienced professionals who want to make a mid-career switch to the retail and F&B sectors.

For these workers, NTUC encourages them to attend the Executive Development Programme at the Employment and Employability Institute.


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