SINGAPORE: Singapore's food and beverage service sector hopes to get more Singaporeans to join the industry and make up the core of new hires to fill positions ranging from rank-and-file to managerial.
The Food & Beverage Managers' Association, with the support of Workforce Development Agency (WDA), held its first career clinic on Monday at VivoCity shopping mall.
The one-day clinic aimed to provide job seekers with insights into career and training opportunities within the sector.
The clinic had 10 participating organisations, ranging from hotels to restaurants.
Career opportunities available in the industry include positions such as chefs, bartenders and servers.
Outreach efforts like this "career clinic" are organised to let the public understand the opportunities available in the industry, and entice more to join up.
About three out of 10 positions in food-and-beverage outlets here are waiting to be filled.
There are some 6,000 food and beverage establishments in Singapore. The boom in the sector is expected to continue its momentum in the coming years, which means more job openings in future.
Minister of State for Manpower and Health, Dr Amy Khor, said: "We need to continue to publicise and let Singaporeans know that there are good quality jobs in the industry with good training opportunities and career pathways and prospects. Even if they start at the bottom at the shop floor for instance, they can progress upwards and that there are many opportunities."
Back-to-work women and older workers are among those the government hopes can supplement the sector's manpower needs.
The government is encouraging firms in the industry to implement more flexible and part-time work arrangements so more can be attracted to join.
Subsidies and assistance schemes are also in place to help companies improve productivity through process and job redesigns so firms can reduce their manpower requirements.
In addition, WDA will continue to support the sector with skills upgrading programmes to increase the number of higher skilled workers.
Such programmes have allowed some to make a career switch and join the food-and-beverage industry.
Anil Kumar's passion for food was enough to convince him to cross over from the mechanical industry.
The 41-year-old earned a pastry and bakery diploma under the Workforce Skills Qualifications programme.
Starting as an intern in 2008, Anil has worked at a few places before becoming a service captain at the restaurant where he now works.
"I got bored with the job that I was doing before because it was pretty much a work that doesn't bring me anywhere. And the fact that I love food, that was the reason why I crossed over from mechanic to the food and beverage industry," he said.
Cheong Hai Poh, who is president of Food and Beverage Managers' Association of Singapore, said there are opportunities in the industry to help workers fast-track their careers.
Mr Cheong said: "You can be fast-tracked if you are performing well. You can move from a waiter to a captain within one to two years, and from a captain to assistant manager. It depends on your own performance, knowledge and skill."
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