More consultants for retail, food, manufacturing sectors soon

More consultants for retail, food, manufacturing sectors soon

SINGAPORE - Ninety productivity consultants for the retail, food services and manufacturing sectors will be trained over three years under two new training programmes initiated by SPRING Singapore (SPRING) and the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA).

The "Productivity Consultancy Training Programme" initiative will train consultants to support the productivity upgrading efforts of companies, most of which are SMEs that employ 6.5 per cent of the workforce and contribute $7.1 billion in value added, or about 2.3 per cent of GDP.

The nine-month course comprises both classroom sessions and on-the-job training in selected local companies such as Hans Café & Bakery and FarEastFlora.com.

It also includes a week-long study mission to Japan, where trainees will learn the best practices of retail and food services sectors.

The training curriculum is developed by the Japan Productivity Center (JPC) and includes lessons in productivity gap analysis, change management, productivity implementation and control, and sector specific management techniques in retail and food services.

There will also be lessons on consultancy ethics, client relationship management, and local government assistance schemes.

SPRING chief executive Mr Png Cheong Boon said one of the key challenges faced by the retail and food services sectors is an acute shortage of competent consultants with good domain knowledge to help SMEs implement productivity improvement projects.

"I am confident that JPC, which has trained more than 6,000 consultants in different countries, is well-placed to undertake the training of productivity consultants for our retail and food services sectors," he said.

WDA chief executive Mr Wong Hong Kuan said the collaboration with SPRING Singapore is a timely one amid a tightening labour market.

"WDA seeks to groom a pool of productivity experts who will be equipped with the relevant skills and knowledge to help companies, especially resource-stretched SMEs that may not have the necessary capabilities, to streamline their work processes and implement productivity improvement measures," he said.

The first run of the course will be conducted from Nov 2012 to Aug 2013.

Twenty consultants, who have been selected based on their consultancy experience, will be trained. Subsequent runs of the course will be conducted by "Master Trainers" chosen from the first batch of graduates.

SPRING and WDA have set aside a total of $2.3 million for the programme.

paullim@sph.com.sg

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