Career conversion schemes help over 3,000 workers in tourism and lifestyle service sector pick up digital skills

The programmes will benefit another 1,400 workers from this month to December next year. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Companies in the tourism and lifestyle service sector, hit hard by the pandemic, are getting help to bounce back, with 18 more career conversion programmes launched since January last year.

These help to equip workers with digital and technical skills, and take up new opportunities, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and Workforce Singapore (WSG) on Wednesday (Aug 25).

From January last year to mid-August this year, more than 3,100 workers from over 200 companies enrolled in the programmes - up from 110 employees from 40 firms in 2019.

In total, there are now 23 such programmes for the tourism and lifestyle service sector.

The programmes will benefit another 1,400 workers from this month to December next year.

MOM and WSG said companies in the sector had to accelerate their digitalisation plans due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

These included harnessing technology to host virtual or hybrid events and meetings, offer virtual tours for consumers to explore travel destinations amid border restrictions, and deliver contactless services at physical places of interest.

Manpower Minister Tan See Leng said: "As a result, companies have also had to redesign their job roles and scopes to support some of these transformation initiatives, particularly in the realm of digitalisation."

He was delivering the 24th jobs situation report on Wednesday, on the sidelines of a media visit to the Singapore Zoo.

Dr Tan added: "With companies preparing themselves for the eventual recovery of the sector, we expect demand for these career conversion programmes to remain strong."

MOM and WSG noted that as the tourism and lifestyle services sector transforms, both new and existing workers need skills to deal with e-commerce, data analytics and digital sales and marketing.

Dr Tan See Leng delivering the 24th jobs situation report on the sidelines of a media visit to the Singapore Zoo on Aug 25, 2021. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Companies looking to redesign their business models and job roles can tap the Service Industry Transformation Programme that provides guidance on processes, products or services.

Since the programme was launched in September 2019, about 60 companies have redesigned their process and job roles to be more productive and manpower efficient, said MOM and WSG.

For example, the responsibilities of a waiter who traditionally takes orders manually now include guiding customers at self-ordering kiosks and offering tailored product recommendations.

Businesses can also adopt other measures put in place by government agencies to transform themselves. The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Enterprise Singapore offer grants, funds and bridging loans.

Ms Jeannie Lim, assistant chief executive of the policy and planning group at STB, said training and upskilling, as well as business transformation, will be key.

"Post-Covid-19, we do see that travel and tourism will evolve and take slightly different shapes. So during this time, we want to make sure that we work closely with our tourism companies to slowly pivot and transform, to ensure that they are future-ready," she added.

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