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Speech by MOS Low Yen Ling for the Joint Polytechnic-ITE Food Manufacturing Career Fair

Speech by MOS Low Yen Ling for the Joint Polytechnic-ITE Food Manufacturing Career Fair

Distinguished guests,

 

Faculty and Students of ITE and Polytechnics,

 

Ladies and gentlemen,

 

 

Introduction

 

1. A very good afternoon. I am delighted to join you at today’s Joint Polytechnic-ITE Food Manufacturing Career Fair 2023.

 

2. I am glad to see so many of our young students here today. The food sector has a special attraction for us Singaporeans because of this love affair we have with all things delicious. I am certain that many of you here share this national passion and are keen to explore a career in the food industry.

 

3.     The good news is, we have a vibrant food manufacturing sector. It employs over 50,000 workers, contributes around $10 billion output over 120 markets and creates about $4 billion value-add to the Singapore economy. Today, we will launch the Food Manufacturing Internship Playbook to strengthen our pipeline of young talents in the food sector and create more opportunities for our youth to be part of this exciting industry. Let me now share two key trends shaping the future of this sector.

 

 

Growing Trends within the Food Manufacturing Sector

 

Sustainable Food Innovation

 

4. An important trend transforming the way food is created is the global and local push for sustainability. We will continue to see innovations in production that help us create a more secure food future with responsibly-sourced and sustainably-produced products.

 

5. Our Singapore enterprises are moving into this space. For instance, jackfruit is being used as a meat substitute by KARANA, a Singapore-based startup. It practices responsible sourcing by getting its fruits from small farms in Sri Lanka.

 

6. Another Singapore food-tech company, CRUST, upcycles surplus bread from Gardenia to produce their artisanal beer.

 

7. These are just two of many innovative products that our local food manufacturers have created to offer more sustainable food options.

 

E-commerce and direct-to-consumer models

 

8. Since the pandemic, the trend towards e-commerce has continued. More and more consumers are buying food from online platforms. Direct-to-consumer business models are gaining popularity as it offers retailers easy access to customers, who also benefit from the wide range of products available at their fingertips. Food manufacturers are seizing this opportunity and quickly growing their online presence while creating unique digital experiences.

 

9. One such example is our local heritage brand, Bee Cheng Hiang. It embarked on a digital transformation journey to create a seamless, omnichannel experience for its customers through an online app which connects sales at its physical stores, websites and in app purchases so that data are integrated and accessible at any point of sales. Based on purchasing history, it can also proactively push relevant and customised marketing material to customers. The data gathered also enables Bee Cheng Hiang to make more accurate production volume projections, allowing them to minimize wastage. To support the business’ digitalisation efforts, new roles were created for digital strategists to leverage data and exploit digital channels to gain more customers and business.

 

10. The jobs in the Food Manufacturing sector are being reimagined and redesigned as we speak.

 

Exciting growth and career opportunities

 

11. As our vibrant food manufacturing sector transforms to stay ahead of the curve, it offers exciting opportunities for careers in emerging areas like the development of novel foods, sustainable food production, data analysis, as well as continued innovation through digitalisation and automation.

 

12. Last December, the Government launched the Food Manufacturing Jobs Transformation Map (JTM) to prepare food manufacturers and workers for the future. I would like to encourage the students here to use the JTM to better understand the growth areas in the food sector and the corresponding skill sets required. Speak to the companies participating in the fair today to learn more about the food manufacturing industry and potential career opportunities.

 

 

Launch of the Food Manufacturing Internship Playbook

 

13. To help aspiring students like you gain practical experience and exposure to the food manufacturing sector, as well as support food manufacturers to build up a pipeline of young talent, we are launching the Food Manufacturing Internship Playbook today.

 

14. Developed by EnterpriseSG, with support from the Institutes of Higher Learning, the Playbook provides food manufacturers with a step-by-step guide on how to identify focus areas, structure an internship and use the available templates to model their internships. This enables potential employers to provide internship programmes that offer structured learning, guidance, as well as mentorship.

 

15. This win-win combination is aimed to benefit both the companies and students. By nurturing young talent, food companies will ensure a pipeline of quality staff. Students who undergo the internships will also acquire early skills and exposure to the food industry and a head-start in this promising sector.

 

16. For instance, Ms Tan Pei Yi, from NUS, learnt about process optimisation and flavour production as an intern at KH Roberts, a leading producer of aromas and tastes. It gave her insights into a possible career in food production. After a fruitful and meaningful internship experience, Pei Yi took her first step into the working world by joining KH Roberts. Today, she is conducting R&D and managing strategic research projects.

 

 

Conclusion

 

17. Like Pei Yi, you have a chance to discover your interests in the food manufacturing sector. At today’s job fair, there are more than 200 full-time job opportunities and 100 internship positions being offered. I hope you will take this opportunity to expand your horizons and get to know the food sector and as many companies as possible. Hear from industry speakers and alumni members about what the sector has to offer.

 

18. For our food companies here, thank you for embarking on the transformation journey to keep our sector at the cutting edge. I hope the Internship Playbook will enhance your company’s talent pipeline and boost your plans to move ahead with fresh innovations and stay competitive in the market.

 

19. Last but not least, I would like to thank the polytechnics and ITE for their efforts in making this event possible.

 

20. I wish everyone a fruitful and enriching time at the fair. Together, we can shape a promising future for Singapore’s food manufacturing sector with a forward-looking playbook that nurtures talent and innovations for years to come.

 

21. Thank you.

 

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