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Top five ways to support skills development in the food services industry

Top five ways to support skills development in the food services industry

The top-most helpful ways include providing allowances for learning & development and allowing time off for training, according to a survey.

As the Singapore economy has been gradually recovering from the pandemic, the food services industry growth has incurred its own set of challenges, namely manpower shortage, supply chain issues, changing consumer preferences, and increased competition.

report by NTUC’s LearningHub discusses the Industry Transformation Map (ITM) by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, which allows businesses to build a strong local talent pool and utilise consumer needs for expansion and innovation.

It highlights the current landscape of the food services industry where importance is placed on food waste management as an emerging trend and brings to attention the manpower restraints issue.

The report notes that copious efforts in food wastage management by businesses have been rather successful, with 56% of employees in the food services industry agreeing that their company has shown active effort in battling food wastage.

Another key finding explains manpower shortage as a complex and prevalent problem in the food services industry, where 91% of employees in the food services industry agreed that there is a manpower shortage issue.

The lack of skills development and training is a driving factor in the manpower shortage issue, with nearly three in four (72%) employees naming it as a key reason for leaving the industry. In that vein, although employees are interested in learning skills in areas such as business management and personal development, 67%s revealed that they have not been enrolled in industry-relevant training programmes in the past two years. These findings indicate that employees are eager to upgrade their skill set to maximise efficiency and kickstart their professional and personal growth, the report affirmed.

In response to this, the government mapped out, earlier this year, the Progressive Wage Model (PWM) to allow workers in the food services industry to move up the wage ladder; and implement compulsory training requirements, while outlining a career progression model for employees to broaden their skill set.

However, 32% of employees report being unaware of available career pathways in the food services industry. This could be due to the perception workers have of the industry where it is not a viable long-term career, resulting in a lack of interest to explore career options. Additionally, nearly half (42%) of employees express that employers have not taken any steps to support their career planning.

The report recommends employers to support the growth of employees’ careers through mentorship and providing learning and development opportunities for employees to remain in the workforce. Employees have voiced out their desire to advance in their jobs and have listed out ways employers can support them in their progression.

Alongside the above, the report highlighted the top five ways for employers in the industry to support their employees in skills development, as cited by employees surveyed:

  1. Provide allowances for learning and development - 50%
  2.  Allow time off for training - 48%
  3. Subsidise/ sponsor further studies in related fields - 35%
  4. Sponsor study trip for exposure and networking with global and regional peers - 33%
  5. Provide on-the-job training - 33%

In line with this, it was affirmed that the implementation of the PWM would allow for skills development as mandatory trainings would be enforced; and that, as companies discover new operating systems in today’s digitalised food services industry, they should continue efforts to upskill workers. 

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 Lead image: Shutterstock

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