Air stewardess tries her hand at supermarket retail

(From left) Retail assistants Niki Lim and Wendy Leong are working at Prime Food & Grocer supermarket in Century Square mall. Ms Leong, an air stewardess who was placed on furlough, applied through the virtual career fairs platform under Workforce Si
(From left) Retail assistants Niki Lim and Wendy Leong are working at Prime Food & Grocer supermarket in Century Square mall. Ms Leong, an air stewardess who was placed on furlough, applied through the virtual career fairs platform under Workforce Singapore and got a job as a cashier at the supermarket after a few days. LIANHE ZAOBAO FILE PHOTO

As the coronavirus crisis grounded flights and brought air travel to an almost complete halt, air stewardess Wendy Leong found herself out of work.

The 29-year-old, who was placed on furlough, decided to try her luck in the retail industry.

She applied through the SGUnited Jobs virtual career fairs platform under Workforce Singapore and got a job as a cashier at Prime Supermarket after a few days.

The fairs list job opportunities with immediate vacancies.

Of her job hunt, Ms Leong said: "I mainly targeted the supermarkets because I knew that during this coronavirus period, there was a higher chance of getting a job there now."

She added that she chose retail because the service industry is related to her previous work as an air stewardess. "Friends told me about the virtual career fairs... and I found the platform easy to use. I just had to create an account, upload my resume and search for related jobs that I wanted."

She said that she had used other platforms, but did not receive any reply about her applications.

Ms Leong expects to work as a temporary staff for about three months, but said there is flexibility if she has to return to aviation.

She added that one of the challenges of her new job was getting used to an unfamiliar system, which included becoming acquainted with a host of different membership discounts.

"I was attached to a senior cashier for five days, so I learnt from her how to use the system. I had never been a cashier before so it is very new to me," said Ms Leong, who can now hold her own on the job.

Another difficulty was standing in the same spot for many hours.

 
 

"That was challenging at the start, but it will get better as I get used to it," she said.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 28, 2020, with the headline 'Air stewardess tries her hand at supermarket retail'. Print Edition | Subscribe