Singapore plants seed for tourism skills training in Udaipur

PM Lee and Mrs Lee were present as Acting Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje planted a Rudraksha tree - whose seeds are used as prayer beads in India - at the launch of the Centre of Excellence for Tourism
PM Lee and Mrs Lee were present as Acting Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje planted a Rudraksha tree - whose seeds are used as prayer beads in India - at the launch of the Centre of Excellence for Tourism Training in Udaipur yesterday. The centre is Singapore's second skills training centre in India.ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

Singapore has SkillsFuture, which wants Singaporeans to develop a deep mastery of skills relevant to jobs. India has Skill India, a national campaign which seeks to train 400 million people in skills by 2022.

Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung drew parallels between both drives at the launch of Singapore's second skills training centre in India yesterday.

Located in Udaipur, the Centre of Excellence for Tourism Training is scheduled to begin operations later this year and will have an annual intake of 480 students.

It will offer up to six courses including retail services, hospitality operations and culinary arts.

Skills development is a key area of cooperation between Singapore and India, and the Udaipur centre is one of three that Singapore's Institute of Technical Education (ITE) is helping to start in India.

The first, the World Class Skill Centre in New Delhi, is running, and another is being planned in the state of Assam in the north-east.

Mr Ong was in India with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who ended the official leg of his five-day working trip there yesterday.

 
 

Together with Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, Mr Ong unveiled a plaque and planted a sapling at the launch of the centre.

Various Indian states have been approaching Singapore to set up skills development centres throughout India, said Mr Ong, adding that whether more are on the cards depends on the state governments.

Mr Ong said there is a global trend towards "greater realisation that it's really your skills, your competency, that will make you valuable to industries and employers".

This is why governments around the world are pushing skills training, because competent workers can secure good jobs, he added.

Mr Rajat Kumar Mishra, secretary in the Rajasthan government's department of skills, employment and entrepreneurship, said the Udaipur centre would be a benchmark for other similar institutions. "Tourism is one of the most important sectors in Rajasthan. We want to capture the entire tourism market throughout India and also abroad."

The centre's training could also help Rajasthan workers get jobs in cruise liners and airlines, he added. "It's a question of making them employable in such a way that the employer cannot say no to them."

ITE Education Services partnered with the Rajasthan state government to set up the Udaipur centre and train its trainers.

Earlier yesterday, PM Lee witnessed the signing of two memorandums of understanding (MOU). The first, between IE Singapore and the Rajasthan government, covers smart urban solutions and tourism development and paves the way for Singapore companies to do more business in the state, including projects on waste management and digital networking in remote areas.

The second MOU to train 100 Rajasthan tourism officials was signed by the state's government and the Singapore Cooperation Enterprise. The 36-month programme is supported by the Temasek Foundation International with a $484,000 grant, and co-funded by the Rajasthan tourism department.

Charissa Yong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 07, 2016, with the headline 'Singapore plants seed for tourism skills training in Udaipur'. Print Edition | Subscribe