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12 Apr 2021 Updated 12 Apr 2021

F&B staff can widen job scope, boost pay with training scheme

The Straits Times Sue-Ann Tan

Madam Chong Nyok Mooi, 56, at Gochi-So Shokudo in Jurong does food preparation in the kitchen while also filling customer service roles, such as ensuring patrons scan their token or TraceTogether app. ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

Frontline and operational staff in the food services sector can now undertake a training programme to help them expand their job scope and get higher pay.

The scheme announced on Thursday is slated to benefit 400 staff over the next two years and is part of a broader push to transform the food services sector.

An earlier version launched in February last year benefited around 1,000 workers in food services from more than 30 firms.

These workers were trained to take on enhanced and less laborious roles.

Some existing roles were merged to create new value-added ones, such as combining the tasks of server, cashier and hostess into a single service ambassador role.

Workers in the new roles may also have tasks supported by technology, such as e-payments.

The programme announced on Thursday will focus on helping people in roles such as service crew, cashier and kitchen assistants take on higher-value jobs such as service ambassadors and kitchen technicians.

Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said on a visit to food and beverage services firm Eurasia in Tuas: "For non-PMET (professional, manager, executive and technician) roles, job seekers may be deterred by the work environment, physical demands and shift work.

"These are challenges, but also opportunities.

"For job seekers, a willingness to reskill will be increasingly necessary. For employers, a willingness to redesign non-PMET roles and reskill existing or new staff will also be increasingly necessary."

Employers in the food services sector are transforming and adopting digital processes such as self-ordering solutions and automation for food preparation, noted Workforce Singapore (WSG), the Singapore Productivity Centre and Enterprise Singapore in a joint statement.

But these new technologies also mean that the nature of jobs has to change and some workers may need to be deployed to take on other roles. "In order to attract and retain their local workforce, they need to transform and create quality jobs with improved wages and working conditions, which in turn helps reduce their reliance on foreign manpower," they said.

Employers can get salary support for the duration of a worker's training, capped at three months.

The support goes up for those 40 years old and above.

WSG chief executive Tan Choon Shian said: "As (firms) embrace digitalisation and adapt to the post-pandemic norm, we will continue to support them... and help overcome their manpower challenges together - all whilst ensuring our Singaporean workers can look forward to more fulfilling and meaningful careers in the industry."

Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.