Learning skills can be a walk in the park

Learning skills can be a walk in the park
WRS' Mr Lee Meng Tat said the WSQ scheme allows workers to build up skills that are application to all its parks.

SINGAPORE - Staff members tend to have a pretty good idea about what is best for their organisation so it made perfect sense for Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) to take charge of its own training needs.

It became an accredited training provider in 2006, allowing it to provide Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) training and assessments.

Chief executive Lee Meng Tat said the scheme lets workers build up skills that are applicable to all of its parks - the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari, Jurong Bird Park and the upcoming River Safari.

"We have a group of people who have gone through the training and can deliver a certain level of service to our guests," said Mr Lee.

Similar standards are upheld in its other departments, including food and beverage (F&B) and operations.

WRS has 16 modules in tourism and F&B under the WSQ framework and will offer retail and landscaping courses next year.

Last year, it also started two new training programmes, the Recognition of Prior Learning and Train and Promote.

Employees who did not have prior formal training in areas such as tourism were able to attain WSQ diplomas by undertaking these programmes.

Courses such as these help WRS develop a multi-skilled workforce able to work in frontline jobs or backroom positions - a key benefit amid a tight labour market.

Human resources director Lim Kai Huat said some employees in its F&B department chose to do a diploma course in tourism to learn things such as budgeting and human resource management.

"In this way, we build up a multi-skilled workforce. An F&B manager, after going through the course, can be redeployed to operations," said Mr Lim.

The new courses, which came at a time when WRS was facing difficulties getting new workers for the River Safari, allowed existing employees to be promoted or deployed to form a core team at the new river-themed park.

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