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More government support for technology adoption in Singapore's food services and retail industries

More government support for technology adoption in Singapores food services and retail industries

Photos from Adapt & Grow Food Services and Retail Day exploring restaurants and retail stores of the future/ Photo credit: Workforce Singapore

The Singapore government is encouraging employers from the food services and retail industries to relook at, adapt and transform their operations and work processes by embracing innovation and adopting the latest technologies. They will be supported in this process by Workforce Singapore (WSG), SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), along with SPRING Singapore, unions and associations.

WSG is a statutory board under the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), which oversees the transformation of the local workforce and industry to meet ongoing economic challenges, while SSG is a statutory board under the Ministry of Education (MOE), which drives and coordinates the implementation of the national SkillsFuture movement and promotes a culture and holistic system of lifelong learning.

By leveraging technologies, routine work processes can be streamlined to improve productivity, while being less reliant on manpower, thereby helping them overcome manpower shortage. Technology is also enabling employers to mitigate the effects of the ageing workforce by making work easier, safer and smarter for their older workers.

To support and help offset part of the implementation costs of these technologies, employers can tap on WSG’s WorkPro Job Redesign Grant, under WSG’s Transform & Grow initiative, to fund job redesign projects up to $300,000.

With regards to training and wage subsidy support, Employers from both sectors can also use WSG’s suite of Adapt & Grow programmes, such as Professional Conversion Programmes, the Career Support Programme and Work Trial to enhance and complement their hiring and training efforts.

The Skills Framework for Food Services and the Skills Framework for Retail have also been launched to support the manpower strategies laid out in the respective Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs for Food Services and Retail). The Skills Frameworks were jointly developed by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), WSG and SPRING Singapore in consultation with employers, industry associations, unions and education and training institutes.

Previously, Skills Frameworks have been launched for Hotel and Accommodation Services, Early Childhood Care and Education, Precision Engineering, Sea Transport and Aerospace.

The Skills Framework for Food Services has identified seven tracks, covering 52 job roles, the seven tracks being Beverage Service, Food and Beverage Service, Pastry and Baking, Culinary Arts, Central Kitchen Production, Quality Assurance and Research and Development.

The Framework lists existing and emerging skills required by each job role, which include innovating with New Culinary Ingredients in Food and Beverage Production, Operating Automated Cooking Equipment for Cooking Food Products, and Using Primary Functions and Applications of a Tablet.

The Skills Framework for Retail outlines five career tracks within the sector, covering the areas of Retail Operations, Brand Management, Marketing, Merchandising, and E-Commerce. A total of 174 existing and emerging skills and competencies have been identified across 24 key job roles, including Data Analytics, Customer Experience Management and Market Research.

Mr. Poon Hong Yuen, Chief Executive, SPRING Singapore said, “Industry transformation, aided by the use of technology, can only happen with a strong workforce – one that is equipped with the relevant skillsets to take on new roles and adapt to evolving market needs. The Skills Frameworks serve as references for Food Services and Retail businesses to enhance the skills of their employees and create better quality jobs.”

“The two Skills Frameworks that are launched today support the implementation of the ITMs for the Food Services and Retail industries. Trends such as increased automation in the Food Services industry and the growth of e-commerce in the Retail industry provide new business and career opportunities. To seize these opportunities, the workforce will need to be equipped with new skills. The Skills Framework outlines how an individual can stay relevant and benefit from these opportunities in each industry,” commented Mr. Ng Cher Pong, Chief Executive of SSG.

To further inspire and encourage employers to adopt technologies, drive recruitment and promote the wide range of job opportunities, WSG has organised the two-day Adapt & Grow Food Services and Retail Day on 4 and 5 August 2017 at the Lifelong Learning Institute. This event comprises three components: a technology showcase featuring technology solutions for both sectors, a seminar on “SMEs of the Future: Food Services and Retail”, and a career fair.

Technology solutions showcased included the e-Waiter, Table Top Auto-Cooker and Virtual Reality Technology.

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