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Singapore’s retail sector receives boost in talent development

Zafirah Salim | Jan. 28, 2016
This initiative sees the integration of Enhanced Internship with SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme; whereby five local retailers will invest in talent management and retention programmes during students’ internships.

Singapore's five polytechnics - Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP), Temasek Polytechnic (TP), Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP), Singapore Polytechnic (SP) and Republic Polytechnic (RP) - together with the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and five local retailers signed on Tuesday (26 Jan 2016) a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to integrate the Enhanced Internship with the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme.

The signing took place at an Industry Practitioner Seminar organised by the Singapore Institute of Retail Studies (SIRS), and was witnessed by Mr Ong Ye Kung, Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills).

The MoU were coordinated by NYP, which leads the Retail Sector Coordination Team (SCT) in support of the national SkillsFuture movement. The Retail SCT also comprises the other four polytechnics, ITE and SIRS.

Under this partnership, the five retailers - Charles & Keith (Singapore) Pte Ltd, Cold Storage Singapore Pte Ltd, Isetan (Singapore) Limited, StarHub Ltd and Wing Tai Retail Pte Ltd - will invest in talent management and retention programmes during students' internships.

Students who successfully complete at least 20 weeks of the Enhanced Internship with these firms may have a chance to be offered employment through the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme.

The duration of the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme will be reduced to 12 months instead of the usual 18 months, and will culminate in a Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) Specialist Diploma or WSQ Advanced Certificate in Retail Supervision. Supported by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA), this fast-track route enables a seamless integration of Enhanced Internship and the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme.

Another 11 retailers signed a separate MoU to offer Enhanced Internships to retail students. It was announced last year that Enhanced Internships would be offered to second- or third-year polytechnic or ITE students; and by 2020, all polytechnic and ITE courses will offer this.

"As the sectoral lead for retail - an industry which is ever-changing and high in manpower demands - Nanyang Polytechnic aims to continue encouraging organisations to play a stronger role in talent growth and retention. 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.

"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," added Ng Cher Pong, Chief Executive of WDA.


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