SINGAPORE - For Republic Polytechnic (RP) student Joel Yeo, who is pursuing a course specialising in food and beverage, lunchtime is not spent on having a leisurely meal.
Instead, the 19-year-old is busy preparing food in the school's new training kitchen for customers at a 70-seater restaurant.
The kitchen and restaurant are part of the polytechnic's $2.4 million investment in training facilities for its 2,400 hospitality students.
Other new facilities include three fully furnished hotel rooms and a barista lab with five coffee machines.
These facilities help the students to learn more about the real-life working environment in the service industry.
Students also gain practical experience that they might encounter once they start work, such as dealing with difficult customers.
"Sometimes customers demand a change of plates, so we have to cook the food again. They may also complain about the wait," Mr Yeo said.
The School of Hospitality's director, Mr Albert Toh, said that the extensive set-up of the training facilities - down to functioning taps in the hotel rooms - is intended to help students develop an "eye for detail".
"This is exactly what you see in the industry. It's about finesse, and everything is crucial," he said.
Second-year hospitality student Dinesh Raj, 18, said he has benefited from the hands-on approach.
"It's totally different from theory lessons. There's nothing like the experience itself."
The facilities were unveiled on Tuesday, in celebration of the School of Hospitality's fifth anniversary.
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