Mcdonald's first traineeship programme with the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) has proven to be a big draw, thanks to the fast-food chain's outreach efforts to secondary school leavers.
In January, it attracted 17 trainees - the most for a single employer partnering ITE - compared with fewer than five typically for smaller restaurants.
The trainees spend four days a week stationed at different McDonald's outlets around the island, and another day on campus having lessons. They earn a monthly allowance of $1,200 during the two-year programme.
More than a third of ITE's 57 Nitec courses have a traineeship route, said ITE College West deputy principal (academic) Goh Mong Song.
"McDonald's brand name is a big hit and they had also put in effort to share with students a career plan beyond the two years," added Dr Goh.
Other companies have limited spaces because of resource constraints.
Work and study run parallel in traineeships, unlike the model where students learn on campus for more than a year before doing attachments, he said.
McDonald's director of human resources Audrey Chin added: "Students get the best of both worlds - a certificate and work experience at the end of it."
Trainees are assigned a workplace mentor who works closely with ITE lecturers and contributes to their overall evaluation.
Trainee Ahmad Madani, 17, said he was working for over a year at McDonald's while preparing for his N-levels last year.
"Studying and working at the same time is not that hard," he said. "I think having work experience is more valuable than just learning theory."
Now, the trainees also have a training cafe - which is not open to the public - set up by McDonald's at ITE College West.
Modelled after the chain's cafes, the McCafe Training Academy, which also serves as a barista training facility for McCafe staff, was opened yesterday by Senior Minister of State for Education and Law Indranee Rajah.
McDonald's and ITE signed an agreement in August last year to train staff and students in quick-service restaurant operations and customer service.
"The coming together of barista trainers from McCafe and lecturers and students from ITE's School of Hospitality will provide a win-win platform for idea exchange and gestation of new food and beverage products and services," said Mr Bruce Poh, the ITE's chief executive officer.
This article was first published on June 3, 2014.
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