Temasek Polytechnic launches smart training facility to equip students with e-commerce skills

The centre includes two unmanned physical stores on campus, including 1st Avenue Originals. PHOTO: TEMASEK POLYTECHNIC

SINGAPORE - Temasek Polytechnic has launched its Smart e-Commerce Centre (SMEC), a training facility aimed at equipping students and alumni with the skills to enter the growing e-commerce industry.

The centre will also collaborate with companies and aspiring entrepreneurs to boost their digitalisation efforts, said a spokesman for the polytechnic at the launch event on Monday (July 19).

The event was officiated by Minister of State for Education and Manpower Gan Siow Huang.

The centre includes two unmanned physical stores on campus - 1stAvenue Omni and 1st Avenue Originals - which will allow customers to purchase products using self-checkout stations. The stores will gradually open to the public in tandem with safe management measures.

SMEC also runs an online store, 1st Avenue Online, which is in operation and allows purchases via computers, smartphones or an on-site touch-screen monitor.

The centre was developed and built with over $1 million in funding from Temasek Polytechnic and SkillsFuture Singapore.

Mr Samuel Tan, head of SMEC, said it aims to provide a conducive environment for students of the polytechnic's various disciplines, including engineering, information technology and marketing, to venture beyond their diplomas and apply their knowledge in real-life scenarios.

"It can be hard for students to get internships outside of school, and external companies may not be so forgiving if they make mistakes. Here, we allow them to collaborate with various corporate partners within a safe environment," he said.

Mr Tan added that six of 13 brands collaborating with SMEC are run by graduates of the polytechnic, and the centre seeks to help them boost their businesses through digitalisation.

One such graduate is Ms Veronica Tan, who completed her diploma in retail management in 2017 and founded women's apparel brand 6Style two years later.

She wanted to work with her former lecturers and, when the opportunity arose, decided to set up shop at her alma mater.

The 25-year-old said: "Having a shop (in SMEC) allows us to gain brand exposure with the students and staff, who fall into our target group of 16- to 35-year-olds."

Similarly, Mr Shawn Koh, 30, and Mr Shawn Loo, 44, co-founders of technology venture Binary Coffee, have set up an unmanned, robotic barista kiosk in the centre. Both of them are graduates of the polytechnic's business school.

Mr Shawn Koh (above) and Mr Shawn Loo, co-founders of technology venture Binary Coffee, have set up an unmanned, robotic barista kiosk in the centre. PHOTO: TEMASEK POLYTECHNIC

Mr Koh said: "We've been providing solutions for manufacturers in the robotics space for four years, so it's been our dream to explore deploying our technologies beyond just manufacturing."

Temasek Polytechnic said SMEC will also provide training opportunities for working adults pursuing courses in e-commerce branding and digital marketing, workplace digital literacy and inventory management under the Continuing Education and Training programme.

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