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Charles & Keith, Isetan, Starhub among firms to boost retail sector talent

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Good news for employers in Singapore’s retail sector.

With the integration of the Enhanced Internship and the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme, these employers can expect to see a bigger talent pool with relevant skills in the near future.

According to a press release, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed yesterday by the five polytechnics, Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and five retailers to integrate the Enhanced Internship with the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme.

These retailers include Charles & Keith (Singapore) Pte Ltd, Cold Storage Singapore (1983) Pte Ltd, Isetan (Singapore) Limited, StarHub Ltd and Wing Tai Retail Pte Ltd.

Additionally, 11 other companies also signed a separate MOU to offer Enhanced Internships for retail students.

These MOUs were coordinated by Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP), which leads the Retail Sector Coordination Team (SCT) in support of the national SkillsFuture movement and the signings took place at an Industry Practitioner Seminar organised by the Singapore Institute of Retail Studies (SIRS), witnessed by Ong Ye Kung, acting minister for education (higher education and skills).

The Retail SCT also comprises Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Republic Polytechnic, Singapore Polytechnic, Temasek Polytechnic, ITE and SIRS.

“The partnerships today will see more students getting a deeper knowledge of retail operations, and more importantly, allow companies to retain high-potential talents from the time they are interns,” said Jeanne Liew, principal & chief executive officer, Nanyang Polytechnic.

ALSO READ: Singapore’s retail sectoral manpower plan announced, job redesign in focus

Under this new initiative, the five organisations will invest in talent management and retention programmes during students’ internships.

After successfully completing at least 20 weeks of the Enhanced Internship with the organisations, the students may be offered employment through the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme.

Instead of the usual 18-month SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme, the duration of the programme will be reduced to 12 months and will culminate in a Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) Specialist Diploma or WSQ Advanced Certificate in Retail Supervision.

Enabling a seamless integration of Enhanced Internship and the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme, this fast-track route is supported by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA).

READ MORE: How retail sector employers manage staff in the busy holiday season

Ng Cher Pong, chief executive of WDA, said: “Integrating the Enhanced Internship with the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme provides a seamless learning experience for students as they transit from school to the workplace.

At the same time, the integration will boost employers’ efforts in identifying, attracting and developing skilled local talent. Both initiatives will work in tandem to better match polytechnic and ITE students with employers in their fields of study.”

Image: Shutterstock

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