New WSQ apprenticeship hospitality diploma programme aims to expand talent pool in industry

Ms Ng Jing Ling will be undertaking the Hotel Apprenticeship Diploma Programme under Shatec. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - From April to early September last year, Ms Ng Jing Ling worked in various departments, such as housekeeping and the front office, during her internship at Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa hotel.

The internship helped her better understand the hotel industry, and the 20-year-old decided to apply for a new apprenticeship programme leading to the Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) Diploma in Hotel and Accommodation Services.

“Through the internship, I realised that I am highly interested in (the hotel industry) and would like to know about it,” said Ms Ng, who had the chance to interact with local and international guests.

The course is the first of three WSQ diploma courses under the Hotel Apprenticeship Diploma Programme, which was launched in August this year by hospitality school Shatec, the training arm of the Singapore Hotel Association.

The other two diplomas, which will be rolled out progressively under the programme, include the WSQ Diploma in Food Services (Culinary Arts) and the WSQ Diploma in Tourism (Events Management and Operations). 

On Monday at Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability in Jurong, Shatec, the National Trades Union Congress’ Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) and 12 hotels signed a memorandum of understanding to provide customised training supported by industry mentorship, and to prepare trainees for the workforce.

Singapore Hotel Association executive director Margaret Heng witnessed the MOU signing.

Ms Ng is one of 20 trainees who will begin the 18-month hotel diploma programme in October.

The course is open to Singaporeans, Singapore permanent residents, long-term visit pass-plus holders and foreigners who are at least 21 years old, as well as those seeking a career change.

In the first three months, trainees will attend classes full time at Shatec. Modules include front office operations and events planning.

After that, they will serve their apprenticeship at a hotel, where they will attend training two days each week and work on the other three days. 

Trainees will be assigned mentors and get personalised coaching from experienced leaders at the hotels. They will also get an allowance of $1,300 a month from the hotel employer during their apprenticeship.

Shatec chief executive officer Lim Boon Kwee said the programme is designed in close partnership with the Singapore Hotel Association and hotel employers to ensure that trainees are equipped with the skills needed by the industry.

The programme is an alternative pathway for job seekers to upgrade themselves in the hospitality industry while helping hotels meet manpower needs, said Mr Lim.

“We hope to attract a greater pool of local talents, help them access quality jobs in the hotel sector and ultimately retain them in this industry,” he said.

The first intake for the WSQ Diploma in Food Services (Culinary Arts) course is in January next year, while the WSQ Diploma in Tourism (Events Management and Operations) course is expected to begin in mid-2023.

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