ITE students to open Western food stall under Food Republic tie-up to nurture young hawkers

The seven students who will be running the Western food stall in Shaw Centre. PHOTO: ITE COLLEGE WEST
(From left) Ms Denise Tan, Director, School of Hospitality, ITE College West; Ms Alice Seow, Principal, ITE College West; Mr Andy Kiu, General Manager, Food Republic and Ms Wendy Cheok, Assistant Operations Manager, Food Republic. PHOTO: ITE COLLEGE WEST

SINGAPORE - ITE College West student Wayne Tee, 19, has been working part-time since he was 15 and dreams of becoming his own boss.

So when the chance came to open a hawker stall - and in Orchard too - as part of his culinary arts course, the higher Nitec student jumped at it.

Mr Tee and six other students in the course will operate a Western food stall at Food Republic in Shaw Centre.

The stall, which will open in November, is the result of a tie-up between the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and the foodcourt operator under the Young Hawker Entrepreneurship Incubator Programme.

The rest of the 33 students in the course will do internships at restaurants and hotels.

Mr Tee said: "I have always wanted to open a Western restaurant with multiple branches of my own and this is a step in that direction. And I will be able to learn what it's like to run my own business."

The stall, whose rental is highly subsidised, will offer dishes priced under $15, with the menu of Asian-Western fusion fare - like pasta dishes with a Singaporean twist - put together with the help of ITE lecturers.

Students also took in feedback from Food Republic when drawing up the menu over two weeks.

The six-month internship programme, with a new batch of students taking over after that, aims to provide a stepping stone for students to test ideas and skills in a real fast-paced work environment, and deal with the challenges that come with running a business.

ITE College West principal Alice Seow, speaking at a ceremony at the campus in Choa Chu Kang on Sept 1, said: "The internship will serve as a capstone of students' learning, allowing them to apply the concepts and skills learnt during their course into the 'hawkerpreneurship' project.

"We hope that this opportunity will stir our students' interest and give them the appetite to take the first steps to start and run their own hawker business."

Students who are pursuing a Higher Nitec or work-study technical diploma course are eligible to sign up for the programme. Their income will depend on sales.

Mr Ho Jia Jing, 19, who is one of the students who will run the stall, said: "Money is not an issue... But the internship will enable us to gain knowledge and skills that others may not get a chance to."

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