SINGAPORE - A new work-study programme to help ease the entry of young people into the hawker trade will be launched in March.
The Work-Study Post-Diploma (Certificate in Hawkerpreneurship), which comes under the SkillsFuture Singapore work-study programme, is the first of its kind.
Announcing the programme at the second edition of the SG Hawker Seminar on Monday (Jan 11), Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment Amy Khor said: "With the increasing recognition and appreciation of hawker fare, setting up a hawker stall can be considered as a gateway into the F&B sector, and there could be budding food and beverage entrepreneurs who may aspire to join the hawker trade."
She said the National Environment Agency (NEA) and SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) will work together with Temasek Polytechnic to launch the programme as a new track under the Hawkers' Development Programme (HDP), which was started in January last year to equip hawkers with the relevant skills and competencies to run a hawker stall.
The 12-month programme, which takes in its first batch in March, will be open to all recent graduates from polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education.
Participants will undergo a two-month classroom-based training, followed by a four-month apprenticeship and a six-month mentorship with experienced hawkers.
The programme can accommodate about 50 people over three years, and both mentors and apprentices will receive a monthly training allowance of $500 and $1,000 respectively.
As at Jan 1 this year, more than 170 people have completed the training stage of the HDP, and 41 of them are moving on to the final stage of setting up their incubation stalls.
Due to the encouraging response, the number of training places under the scheme will be increased from 100 to 300 places over the next two years, said Dr Khor.
In line with that, the number of incubation stalls under the Incubation Stall Programme (ISP), will go up from the current 20 to 80 stalls in the next few years.
The ISP supports aspiring hawkers by providing them with pre-fitted stalls and subsidised rentals for over 15 months.
Dr Khor also said support has been given to hawkers to help them digitalise, in the form of a new module launched by NEA and SSG titled Adapt to Change - Digitalisation for Hawkers under the HDP.
The module, which began its inaugural run last month, is taught by Nanyang Polytechnic's Asian Culinary Institute.
She said: "To keep our hawker culture thriving, we cannot just do the same things (in) the same way. We need to adapt to change and do the same things in different ways, which is borne out by our experience with the Covid-19 pandemic."