Fast-track to commodities trading

Mr Greg Hertault, head of talent acquisition at global commodities firm Trafigura, briefing students on the new apprentice scheme.
Mr Greg Hertault, head of talent acquisition at global commodities firm Trafigura, briefing students on the new apprentice scheme.PHOTO: TRAFIGURA

A new apprenticeship scheme unveiled yesterday will give A-level and diploma holders another pathway to the coveted role of commodities trader.

The initiative aims to produce talent for a sector that last year employed 15,400 people and generated turnover of US$900 billion (S$1.23 trillion) here.

The one-year programme, which is supported by government agency IE Singapore, starts in January at global commodities firm Trafigura.

Mr Tan Chin Hwee, Trafigura's chief executive for the Asia-Pacific region, said in a statement that the apprenticeship "will show the value of skills-based qualifications for A-level and diploma-qualified students who have chosen not to go to university".

He added at the launch: "Academic education is deemed important... But increasingly, a skills-based education is part of the answer and solution to how we future-ready our youth."

The apprentices will be assigned to business units from trade finance to warehousing and logistics and will be posted to offices in Singapore, Geneva or Houston.

They could also earn a place in Trafigura's two-year global graduate programme, which is otherwise reserved for degree holders.

The Trafigura group has 4,100 employees in 36 countries, including around 200 here. The company could not say how many places there will be in apprenticeship programme as the number may vary over time.

Third-year Nanyang Polytechnic student Poh Wei Zhi, 20, who is studying fund management and administration, was at the launch.

He said he had planned on reading information technology in university after graduating next year, but now figures that the scheme could give him a leg up on the job market, even without a degree. "With the apprentice programme leading to the graduate programme, for a diploma holder, I think it'd be easier to find a job.

Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Trade and Industry Low Yen Ling told the launch ceremony that the programme builds on existing tie-ups with higher learning institutions to groom students for international trade.

But the private sector also plays an important role in nurturing talent, said Ms Low, who is also Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education. "The active participation of industry partners in the development and also design of the programme curricula is crucial to ensure that our students are equipped with relevant skill sets, jobs and technology and are able to contribute to the growth and success of the commodity trading sector."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 09, 2017, with the headline 'Fast-track to commodities trading'. Print Edition | Subscribe