Sunday, June 7, 2009

Gear up for hospitality boom

Ms Billie Ooi (left) and Mr Richmond Kok graduated yesterday after pursuing their studies at the University of Nevada Las Vegas' campus here. -- ST PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM

By Debbie Yong
The Sunday Times today

From doing backend business strategising in a nine-to-five IT job, Mr Christopher Goh now stands on his feet all day greeting guests as a management trainee at the Royal Plaza on Scotts hotel.

But the 41-year-old, who has been working there for a month as part of his master's degree course, does not mind.

'In the hospitality line, I get to meet people from all over the world and it's a fast-growing industry,' he said.

Mr Goh is one of the first three people selected for the Workforce Development Agency's Professional Conversion Programme for Hospitality Managers.

The $3 million freshly launched programme is specially tailored to help professionals and managers from non-hospitality-related industries switch to new career pathways in the hospitality sector.

Those selected for the programme will receive an academic scholarship grant of $45,000 to pursue a Master of Hospitality Administration degree at the University of Nevada Las Vegas' (UNLV) Singapore campus on the 10th and 11th floors of the National Library Building in Bugis.

They will also receive a training stipend of $30,000 and have to intern at major hospitality establishments as part of the 15-month full-time programme.

Applications for the next intake in August close on June 19.

The scholarships were given out yesterday by Minister of State for Trade and Industry Lee Yi Shyan at the graduation ceremony of the UNLV's inaugural batch of 36 master's and undergraduate students.

Citing the opening of the two integrated resorts, Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World at Sentosa, and upcoming events in Singapore such as the Formula One night race, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum and next year's Youth Olympic Games, Mr Lee said Singapore will need 'the right people with the right skills and a high level of service standards'.


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