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Digital marketing programme to be launched for tourism workers, as retraining efforts intensify in Covid-19 battered sector

SINGAPORE — Generating individual payslips for employees used to be tedious and time-consuming for human resources executive Kelly Lim due to the number of manual steps involved.

Digital marketing programme to be launched for tourism workers, as retraining efforts intensify in Covid-19 battered sector

Ms Kelly Lim (centre) is one of 3,100 workers from over 200 tourism firms who signed up for career conversion programmes by Workforce Singapore between January 2020 and mid-August 2021. Ms Lim is pictured speaking to Manpower Minister Tan See Leng (right).

  • Tourism and lifestyle businesses used downtime during pandemic to retrain workers
  • Demand for retraining programmes by Workforce Singapore increased 30-fold as a result
  • WSG will launch a new digital marketing programme for workers in the tourism sector in September
  • Manpower Minister Tan See Leng said the programmes are designed to ensure companies are ready to welcome tourists when the economy recovers

 

SINGAPORE — Generating individual payslips for employees used to be tedious and time-consuming for human resources executive Kelly Lim due to the number of manual steps involved.

But since the 35-year-old payroll senior executive attended a four-month programme designed to help her gain new technology skills, Ms Lim has learned how to generate the payslips using automation.

“Once we programme it, (all we need to do is) press ‘play’ and the whole thing will work smoothly in just one click,” said Ms Lim, who works at Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), which manages Singapore Zoo and other wildlife parks.

Automating the payroll process has freed her time to take on other responsibilities, such as taking part in projects.

The software also eliminates mistakes, improving overall efficiency as well, she said.

Ms Lim, who has no prior coding or tech knowledge, took up Workforce Singapore’s (WSG) career conversion programme for digital operations tourism executives in October last year after her boss informed her of the opportunity.

Demand for such programmes within the tourism and lifestyle sector has increased 30-fold since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, WSG and the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in the latest jobs situation report released on Wednesday (Aug 25).

These programmes are designed to equip jobseekers and existing employees with new skills to help them move into new job roles, occupations or sectors that have good prospects and opportunities for progression.

Companies within the tourism and lifestyle sector, which have taken a beating due to the ongoing crisis, took advantage of the downtime by enrolling their workers into such programmes to upskill their workforce and redesign jobs in preparation for the economic recovery, said MOM and WSG.

Along with Ms Lim, more than 3,100 workers from more than 200 companies in the tourism and lifestyle services sector signed up for WSG’s career conversion programmes between January last year and mid-August this year.

This is a sharp increase from the 110 workers from 40 companies who took part in the programmes in 2019.

WSG has also more than tripled the number of programmes it offered for the sector since January last year, launching 18 new career conversion programmes in consultation with union representatives and associations.

Other programmes offered in other sectors include the career conversion programmes for retail, food services industry, and jewellery design and marketing professionals.

To meet the increased demand for the programme among workers in the tourism sector, WSG will be launching the new career conversion programme for digital marketing tourism professionals next month.

The new programme will replace WSG’s existing digital marketing place-and-train programme which was launched in March 2020.

The programme was revised and improved in response to a survey conducted among the 60 companies which participated in the place-and-train programme.

It found that three in four workers said they would like to improve their digital sales and marketing skills.

As part of the programme, trainees will also learn how to develop digital marketing campaigns and sales pitches for their companies.

Assistant human resources manager Chiew Bee Lian, 34, who also took part in the career conversion programme for digital operations tourism executives, said the skills she picked up in robotic process automation helped her to send out automated birthday messages to employees.

“I didn’t have any coding background or anything like that… the trainer is the one who guided us through (the course). It was quite easy and we could also self-learn through Google or YouTube,” said Ms Chiew, who also works at WRS.

Separately, WSG and MOM said there are still close to 100 job vacancies in the tourism and lifestyle services sector for roles in digital marketing and digital sales on the Government’s jobs bank.

Mid-career job seekers who are interested to join this sector can also consider participating in the career conversion programmes for housekeeping specialists, restaurant managers (value chain management) and professional executives (retail track) where firms are still hiring to cater to the increasing domestic market demand.

GEARING UP FOR RECOVERY

During a media briefing on the jobs situation report, Manpower Minister Tan See Leng said the purpose of having these career conversion programmes is to ensure that businesses within the tourism and lifestyle sector will be ready to ride the wave when tourists come back to Singapore.

“When the business comes back — it's not a question of if, but when — the (business’) core competencies are pretty much still intact,” he said.

Asked when workers can expect to see the sector recover, Dr Tan said it is difficult to say right now “when and how fast” business will come back.

He said that while the vaccination rate here is promising and the authorities remain optimistic, uncertainty still remains on the road ahead.

This is because whether the tourism sector will soon see a revival also depends on the vaccination rates of other countries, which are still low for now.

There is also a possibility that a more virulent mutant strain of the coronavirus could appear and affect the Government’s plans to reopen the economy, he said.

“We hope to progressively give you more and more clarity,” said Dr Tan.

Related topics

Workforce Singapore MOM tourism sector upskilling Covid-19

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