SINGAPORE - IKEA Singapore and Temasek Polytechnic (TP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Monday and it marked the start of a new partnership.
The agreement gives TP's Retail Management students access to behind-the-scenes lessons and real-world project assignments from IKEA.
Ms Jing Li, Deputy Store Manager at IKEA Tampines said: "This partnership will elevate Singapore's retail industry by building much needed skills and giving students an inside look at one of the world's most successful retail operations."
Mr Daniel Yeow, Director of School of Business, TP, said: "Every day (Singaporeans) look at IKEA (products), wake up to IKEA (products), sleep on IKEA (products)... IKEA is an institution and we are proud to have a collaboration with it."
Under the partnership, various members of IKEA's management team will conduct lectures at TP. There will also be an in-store lesson for second-year students, while third year students will be given a chance to work within the store.
The top five to 10 students will have an opportunity to intern at IKEA, where they will spend their first seven weeks in the sales department, before spending three weeks in a retail business department of their choice. The internship wraps up with a two week project.
IKEA will also present the IKEA Innovation Award to the third year student with the highest Cumulative Grade Point Average over three years in selected modules.
This year, the award, which consists of IKEA furnishings worth $1,500 as well as a complimentary space planning consultatiton, was presented to Ms Cheong Say En.
The 21-year-old said: "I'm very excited and thankful... I've been living in the same room for 20 years, and now I have the chance to revamp (it)."
Mr Yeow stressed the importance of the retail sector in Singapore, saying: "Singapore is the second hottest city in the world in terms of attracting new retailers."
Mr Lee Chuan Jie, 21, a second year student from TP's Retail Management course said: "I hope to learn more about furnishing retail, which requires a higher level of service as compared to other sectors."
Mr Samuel Tan, Course Manager, Retail Management in TP's School of Business said he hoped the course would show that retail is "more than just folding clothes and selling things - it is very professional, very exciting."