Thinking about hawker food? Dreaming about how char kway teow might never have the same wok hei as before, or how maybe in 5 to 10 years carrot cake might really be gone from your friendly neighbourhood hawker?
Maybe you… have some kind of dream that you are the one meant to open a food business…
That’s right. You. Because you, in particular, got that fire inside you to not only bring out the true wok hei, but also give you what it takes to persevere in the hawker trade.
Now there’s practically no excuse.
New Apprenticeship Programme With Hawkers
Unless you live in a rich man’s cave and only visit hawker centres once in a blue moon, you probably already know that the hawker trade is dying.
The problem? Young hawkers often feedback on the need for mentorship and guidance from veteran hawkers. Plus there are also long hours, hard work, and business risks.
Well, not anymore!
(at least, not to the extent previously)
The Hawker’s Development Programme, a joint effort by NEA and SkillsFuture, was actually announced September last year, but it’s now officially launched on 20 January 2020.
And they want to train at least 100 aspiring hawkers in the next three years.
The Nanyang Polytechnic’s Asian Culinary Institute and the Federation of Merchants’ Associations had signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote the programme among their network of aspiring and existing hawkers.
There Are Three Stages In The Programme
Only five days here. Theory lesson. Learn about basic food safety and hygiene, basic cooking techniques and business and marketing techniques on social media and food delivery apps.
It’s a crash course that’s meant to bring you up to speed.
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Two months. This is really what you signed up for eh? You’ll be apprenticed to experienced hawkers. After this, you can apply to NEA’s Incubation Stall Programme (which gives you a discount of the market rent during a fixed tenure) or bid for a stall in NEA’s monthly tender.
Note: rates on the Incubation Stall Programme differs on the CNA article and the NEA website.
This is where you join the big boys and girls. Test your business plans and cooking with your rental stall. But rest assured that you’re not just thrown into the fire. A laojiao or experienced hawker will support you for the first three months.
There Are Training Grants And SkillFuture
And if you thought all that comes at a hefty cost, you’d be wrong.
You might suddenly remember that you have S$500 bucks in your SkillFutures credit rotting.
Huh, well look at that. It aligns exactly at the S$500 payable course fees for Singaporean and PRs.
In fact, they even have training grants. Which basically means they will pay you for doing this.
Aspiring hawkers will receive up to S$1,000 per training month under Stage 1 to 3, while veteran hawker mentors receive up to S$500 per training month under Stage 2 to 3.
Remember: there already are previous grants like the grant which allows you to claim on kitchen equipment.
NEA is screaming JUST DO IT.
Guess that’s my next career there. And I’ll remember to give my boss fewer ingredients whenever I see his face.
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