SINGAPORE — The SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme for the food manufacturing sector was launched yesterday, the first of eight sectoral programmes to be rolled out by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA).
Twenty polytechnic graduates have been placed with 12 food manufacturers for the programme, which will culminate in the trainees earning an Advanced Diploma in Applied Food Science awarded by Singapore Polytechnic (SP), the programme manager. Employers involved include The Soup Spoon, Faesol and Nestle R&D.
The trainees can expect a starting salary of at least S$1,900. Upon completion of the programme, they may receive a 10 per cent wage increment subject to their performance, and progress to become Senior Food Technologists, Senior Food Process Engineers or Senior Food Quality Assurance Officers.
The Earn and Learn Programme, announced in this year’s Budget Statement, places fresh polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education graduates on paid apprenticeships, where they will also earn industry-recognised qualifications. Apart from food manufacturing, it will be rolled out in seven other sectors: Food services, games development, logistics, infocomm technology, marine and offshore engineering, retail, and precision engineering.
The food manufacturing programme will focus on developing skills in food product innovation, food safety and quality management, and food processing, which involves using sustainable processing methods, innovative packaging materials and technologies to reduce food waste and extend product shelf-life.
There will be classroom training at SP, and training at the workplace using in-house structured training plans developed by SP, Nanyang Polytechnic and Temasek Polytechnic. The graduates will also work on a company-specific project.
Employers who join the programme get incentives of up to S$15,000, and Singapore citizen trainees will get a sign-on incentive of S$5,000.
The course fees, which are paid by the companies, are S$10,620. After Ministry of Education subsidies, they amount to S$1,600 for Singaporeans and S$4,250 for permanent residents.
Ms Anna Lim, general manager of The Soup Spoon, said the programme would benefit the industry by bringing in new blood. “It will close the gap between the industry and the IHLs (institutes of higher learning), and ensure what IHLs are teaching remains relevant to our fast-changing industry,” she said.
“This will benefit our company as being an SME, we may never ever think of hiring a food technologist on the presumption it is expensive . But in today’s fast-changing world, it is necessary to keep ourselves abreast and innovate all the time.”
news source & image credits: todayonline.com