65-year-old switches jobs from painter to senior technician after hotel's reskilling programme

Mr Heng Soo Koy who joined the hotel in 1993 and is one of its pioneer employees, has no plans to retire just yet.
Mr Heng Soo Koy who joined the hotel in 1993 and is one of its pioneer employees, has no plans to retire just yet.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

SINGAPORE - Mr Heng Soo Koy started as a painter when he joined Parkroyal on Kitchener Road nearly 30 years ago.

About a year ago, "Uncle Heng", as the 65-year-old is known to his colleagues, became a senior technician.

The switch was made possible by the hotel's job redesign efforts in 2019.

Mr Heng had about six months of on-the-job training, where a colleague helped him learn the ropes. In the process, he picked up new skills such as basic electrical works, and also learnt ways to clean air-conditioning units and conduct preventive maintenance in guestrooms.

"I am now more confident to handle new tasks," he said, adding that he appreciated having a colleague guide him. "I'm 65 this year and glad to have ample opportunity and time to pick up new skills," he said.

Mr Heng, who joined the hotel in 1993 and is one of its pioneer employees, has no plans to retire just yet.

He said he enjoys working alongside his colleagues and believes he has more to contribute.

Mr Heng is not the only one to pick up new skills.

Under the Job Redesign Reskilling Programme for the hotel industry, about 35 per cent of the workforce at Parkroyal on Kitchener Road have been trained for new or enhanced roles, including those that involve the use of new technology.

With the introduction of technology and reskilling, daily man-hours spent on housekeeping and maintenance have dropped from 12.5 hours to 2.5 hours.

The hotel's general manager, Mr Benny Chung, said staff who went through the reskilling programme have expressed greater satisfaction in areas such as job security and career growth prospects.

By equipping its staff with a larger skillset, the hotel has "a pool of multi-skilled and versatile workforce to continue providing trusted hospitality despite the challenging circumstances" caused by the pandemic, he added.