S$1m training centre for retail industry opens in the heart of Orchard Road

A new S$1 million training centre for Singapore’s retail industry has opened in the heart of the Orchard Road shopping belt.

The 313@Somerset Training and Career Centre is run by Australian property firm Lend Lease with SPRING Singapore and the Workforce Development Council.

The new Training and Career Centre is located across the road from the 313@Somerset retail mall and it aims to raise service standards in the local retail industry.

It will offer courses accredited by the Workforce Development Agency to people working in the retail sector in areas such as customer interaction.

But Lend Lease said service training is not just about window dressing.

Michael Kenderes, Lend Lease Development director, said: “It’s also important for a culture that you are trying to create within a centre. It’s really important that customers get consistency in service. If they get consistency in service you get a reputation, and you become a sustainable business.”

The Australian firm said this centre could be a boon for retailers who want to improve their staff but lack the funds because of the downturn. That’s because the training fee is footed by Lend Lease and SPRING.

Classes start on August 1 with 1,000 retail workers already signed up.

And the location of the centre is also an advantage.

Sng Ng Ngoi May, chairman, Orchard Road Business Association, said: “Land lords have also tried to encourage retailers to send their staff. But the problem is, because they are so thinly staffed, many are small operations.

“It’s very hard to release staff especially if they have to travel some distance for training. So the fact that you have it right on Orchard Road will at least solve that part of the problem.”

Lend Lease said the subsidised training could save the industry some S$3 million a year.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 27 Jul 2009

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