Launch of new scheme to help jobseekers find work in hotel sector

Mrs Josephine Teo (left) talking to Ms Angeline Tan, general manager of Park Hotel Alexandra, and Mr Chng Chee Meng, 42, human resource manager at Park Hotel Group, on July 21, 2017.
Mrs Josephine Teo (left) talking to Ms Angeline Tan, general manager of Park Hotel Alexandra, and Mr Chng Chee Meng, 42, human resource manager at Park Hotel Group, on July 21, 2017.ST PHOTO: MIN ZHANG

SINGAPORE - A new scheme to help jobseekers find suitable careers in the hotel sector  was launched today (July 21).

The initiative by Workforce Singapore, in partnership with the Singapore Hotel Association, offered careers advice to those keen on working in the hotel industry, which is among several sectors hit by the manpower crunch.

The jobs fair, called Hotel Day - now into its second year - was co-organised by NTUC's Employment and Employability Institute or E2i, and held at the Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability.

There were about 340 vacancies on offer from 25 employers, including Amara Hotel, Pan Pacific Singapore, and Intercontinental Hotels Group.

The new Workforce Singapore scheme, called the Adapt and Grow SkillsFuture Career Advisors Programme for the Hotel Industry, aims to give jobseekers a better understanding of the industry through advice given by 21 industry veterans.

The advisers include human resource directors and hotel general managers. At least two other similar careers sessions are planned for this year (2017).

Since last year (2016), Workforce Singapore has rolled out similar events focused on three other sectors: information communications technology, early childhood care and education, and manufacturing.

Volunteer careers adviser Adia Loh, 52, said: "We want to send the message that if you have the passion to serve people and make them happy, and you have the drive, you will be suitable for this industry."

Ms Loh is vice-president of sales at UE Park Avenue International, and has 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry. She said she has seen many cases where, "with hard work and passion", even a bellman has moved up the corporate ladder into a management role.

Second Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo, in an opening address at the event, said: "Hotels are a backbone of our tourism sector... The sector is growing and more hotel properties are being added. This, of course, means more jobs are being created."

Mrs Teo, who is also Second Minister for Foreign Affairs, said recruiters must find responses to two major trends - an ageing workforce and the changing aspirations of people in the workforce.

Meanwhile, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) unveiled the Hotel Careers Campaign at the same event today (July 21). The campaign aims to change misconceptions of jobs in the hotel sector.

Ms Ong Huey Hong, director of hotel and sector manpower at STB, said: "We want to showcase different aspects of the jobs on offer, and more importantly, give people a sense of purpose working in such jobs."

Some upcoming initiatives under this scheme include an Open Hotels Weekend, from Oct 14 to Oct 15, where several hotels will open their doors to share what goes on behind the scenes.

Singapore's hotel industry comprises about 400 establishments, which employ about 1 per cent of the workforce and contribute 1 per cent of the country's gross domestic product.