Switching from sales to food manufacturing at 49 with Workforce Singapore scheme

Workers preparing a large batch of food at a catering facility on July 19, 2019.
Workers preparing a large batch of food at a catering facility on July 19, 2019.PHOTO: ST FILE

Last October, Mr David Yeo, 49, quit his job as a sales executive at an interior design company.

He wanted a job with more stable pay. After a few months of being a private tutor, he learnt about Workforce Singapore's (WSG) Attach-and-Train Programme for Food Production Specialist, and applied for the nine-month programme which started in April.

"I didn't know anything about food manufacturing. I didn't even know much about bacteria in daily cooking," said Mr Yeo. "But I was given the chance to join this programme, so I just jumped right in."

Apart from classroom training, Mr Yeo is also receiving training on the job as a food engineer trainee at Gelato Specialists, a local small to medium-sized enterprise specialising in manufacturing gelato, pastry and chocolate.

Under the programme, Mr Yeo receives a monthly training allowance of $3,500, a stable income which helps support his wife and two children who are in secondary school. Previously, his pay was erratic as it was based on commissions from completed projects and sales.

Mr Yeo said that joining the programme has opened up new possibilities for his career.

"At first I feared that maybe I would be slow to pick up new knowledge and skills because everything was new and I didn't know what were the expectations," he said.

"But you just have to be humble and things will pick up."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 22, 2020, with the headline 'Switching from sales to food manufacturing at 49 with WSG scheme'. Print Edition | Subscribe