New scheme to give air transport sector a lift

Sats' in-flight catering centre. Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and Education Chee Hong Tat, who visited the place yesterday, said Sats is not just about preparing of food, but also "using technology and combining that with good serv
Sats' in-flight catering centre. Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and Education Chee Hong Tat, who visited the place yesterday, said Sats is not just about preparing of food, but also "using technology and combining that with good service and products... to meet the needs of customers".ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

SkillsFuture programme lets poly grads study while working at a participating company

More programmes will be made available to help employees in the air transport sector improve their capabilities.

A SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme (ELP) launched yesterday will give fresh polytechnic graduates a head-start in their careers by teaching them skills required in the sector, such as design thinking, project management skills for business innovation and business analytics for decision-making.

The 18-month programme, the fourth ELP for the industry, leads to a specialist diploma in aviation management. Graduates would learn while working for the participating company at the same time.

Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and Education Chee Hong Tat, who announced the programme yesterday, said the combination of learning on the job and the knowledge built up in the classroom "is powerful and is the way to go to have a more highly skilled workforce".

He added: "The ELP is an important initiative to support skills upgrading and to ensure our workforce has the necessary skills to support industry transformation."

The new programme is being done in collaboration with SIM Global Education and airport ground-handling and in-flight catering service provider Sats. It marks the first time a private education institution will deliver an ELP in the air transport sector with industry partners.

Speaking during a visit to Sats' in-flight catering centre yesterday, Mr Chee added: "This programme is part of the overall SkillsFuture ELP initiatives to try and draw young Singaporeans and to equip them with the skills in the jobs and sectors that are growing.

"At Sats, it is not just in preparing and ground handling of food, but providing efficient supply chains, using technology and combining that with good service and products... to meet the needs of customers. It is a highly complex operation that needs a highly skilled workforce."

The sector's Industry Transformation Map unveiled in April 2017 set a target of increasing productivity by about 40 per cent by 2025 while redesigning or creating 8,000 "good jobs", with more positions for professionals, technicians and cabin crew.

OPEN-MINDED

I learnt to have a positive mindset and I learnt about how technology can enhance efficiency... Before the course, I was sceptical about some technology like online banking, but now I have converted to ibanking. It has made me more open-minded.

MR DESMOND TAY, 55, a supply officer who maintains the database of Sats' procurement systems.

The new ELP starts in October. Suitable candidates will be matched with a job related to their field of study and benefit from structured career development.

Eligible individuals can also receive a sign-on incentive of $5,000, while companies can get a grant of up to $15,000 for each participant to defray the costs of developing and providing structured on-the-job training.

Besides the ELP for fresh graduates, Sats is also rolling out a programme to equip its employees with digital skills.

This will involve helping 3,000 staff members embrace change and gain confidence to adapt in a technology-rich environment.

Sats completed a pilot of the programme last November.

One of the participants was Mr Desmond Tay, 55, a supply officer who maintains the database of Sats' procurement systems. His job scope includes testing new technology related to procurement.

He said: "The most important thing was that I learnt to have a positive mindset and I learnt about how technology can enhance efficiency.

"Before the course, I was sceptical about some technology like online banking, but now I have converted to ibanking. It has made me more open-minded."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 08, 2019, with the headline 'New scheme to give air transport sector a lift'. Print Edition | Subscribe