Singapore

New initiative to grant bakers funding for new equipment and training

Ms Connie Ng, 25, is training to take over her family's bakery, Bread Story, which has been around since 2000 - along with its ovens.

But replacing the two industrial ovens, which have opaque doors so workers cannot tell if the bread inside is burning, costs $20,000 each.

In comes Baker 4.0, a new initiative to prepare bakers for the digital economy.

It promises funding support for new equipment and training, and help with product development.

Thanks to an 80 per cent grant from the initiative, Ms Ng has been able to buy more reliable ovens.

"The ovens have transparent doors and heat-resistant features, so we won't have to open them repeatedly to check our bread or burn ourselves as much," she said.

Baker 4.0, by the National Trades Union Congress's e2i (Employment and Employability Institute) and the Singapore Bakery and Confectionery Trade Association (SBCTA), was officially launched at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre yesterday.

It aims to identify skills bakers may lack and develop training programmes for them.

An industry-wide survey found baking professionals needed to improve their skills in digital technology and automation, ability to adapt to changing business needs, and technical skills in dietary knowledge and menu development.

The SBCTA comprises an estimated 300 bakeries with approximately 6,000 bakers.

One of the training programmes currently in development is a series of modules by Creative Culinaire, opened by chef Judy Koh, SBCTA secretary-general.

The modules will be conducted by Ms Koh for professional bakers.

Eligible candidates may receive up to 70 per cent funding on the course fee and a pay rise after training to recognise their new skills.

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Employment