Singapore — Referring to recent news about a new “Hawkerpreneurship” programme for aspiring ITE and polytechnic graduates, lawyer and opposition politician Lim Tean has questioned in a Facebook post on Monday (Jan 12) whether this type of training is the best the People’s Action Party-led government can offer by way of creating new jobs.
Mr Lim, the founding leader of the Peoples Voice party, added: “Of course we respect our Hawkers.” He did not, however, mince words when it came to criticising the PAP.
“But this programme shows how bankrupt the PAP are when it comes to new ideas on how to create good-paying jobs for Singaporeans and our next generation.
“So our Young are being encouraged to study hard and become Hawkers?”
He also made a reference to the fact that Singaporeans who occupy high positions in public office are among the highest paid in the world.
“Is this all our Millionaire Ministers can offer?” he asked.
Dr Amy Khor, the Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment, announced the new work-study programme at the second edition of the SG Hawker Seminar on Monday (Jan 11).
She said the programme, whose first-of-a-kind curriculum is slated to start in March, would allow participants to get a foot in the door of the food and beverage industry.
She added: “With the increasing recognition and appreciation of hawker fare, setting up a hawker stall can be considered as a gateway into the F&B sector, and there could be budding food and beverage entrepreneurs who may aspire to join the hawker trade.”
The programme is officially called the Work-Study Post-Diploma (Certificate in Hawkerpreneurship). It is under the SkillsFuture Singapore work-study programme.
The National Environment Agency and SkillsFuture Singapore are working on the programme in coordination with Temasek Polytechnic as a new track under the Hawkers’ Development Programme (HDP), which began in January 2020.
Students will participate in the Certificate in Hawkerpreneurship programme for a full year, with recent graduates from polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education eligible to qualify.
The programme begins with two-month classroom-based training, followed by a four-month apprenticeship and half a year of mentorship under older hawkers.
Around 50 people may participate in the programme over three years.
They are given S$1,000 a month as a training allowance, while their mentors receive S$500 monthly.
More than 170 individuals have undergone the training stage of the HDP, with 41 moving on to the last part of establishing their incubation hawker stalls.
Dr Khor added that, in the next two years, the number of people allowed to train will grow from 100 to 300, according to straitstimes.com.
“To keep our hawker culture thriving, we cannot just do the same things (in) the same way. We need to adapt to change and do the same things in different ways, which is borne out by our experience with the Covid-19 pandemic,” she was quoted as saying. /TISG
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