NTUC’s e2i launches Baker 4.0 to prepare and train bakers to rise to the challenges of Industry 4.0

NTUC’s Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng launched Baker 4.0 at Chillax Asia 2019 today to upskill bakers and transform the baking and confectionary industry

  1. 25 July 2019, Thursday - Bakers form one of the key pillars of the F&B sector, providing Singaporeans regularly with their everyday bread at our local bakeries and delicious pastries at cafes and hotels. As Singapore moves towards industry transformation, our local bakers will too be subject to the changes that the new economy brings. National Trades Union Congress’s (NTUC) e2i (Employment and Employability Institute) and the Singapore Bakery and Confectionery Trade Association (SBCTA) joined hands to pilot a new series of initiatives in the baking and confectionary industry to identify the skills gaps and training needed to upskill and transform bakers in tandem with the changing F&B landscape in Singapore.

Identifying skills gaps in the baking and confectionary industry

  1. To find out how bakers of the future will look like and understand the challenges that bakers currently face, e2i launched the first industry-wide survey to identify the critical skills gaps of the baker workforce.
  1. Led by local F&B technology solutions provider Novitee and digital marketing agency Addpetizer, the research project aimed to identify gaps in 3 skill areas essential to a worker in the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0): Adaptive Skills (ability to navigate and influence change and solve complex problems), Technology Skills (knowledge and mastery of digital systems and programs), and Technical Skills (job-specific knowledge and skills).
  1. The findings of the survey were unveiled at the launch of Baker 4.0, which had a total of 118 respondents, composed of professional bakers, F&B management, and members of the public. The findings revealed that digital technology, adaptive skills in business management, and technical nutritional and dietary bakery skills are viable training areas to develop. For these skills, professionals generally have lower proficiency, fewer training opportunities, and have high intention to receive training (See Annex A for full summary of results).
  1. Mr Benjamin Yang, Managing Director of Novitee commented, “In the course of Novitee developing and implementing IT solutions for the F&B sector, we have seen how digital technology improves the operations of businesses. Our clients cut down time spent on tedious tasks, increase sales, and create a more consistent customer experience. Staff that are skilled and familiar with using digital technology are truly an asset to the F&B establishment that is looking to become more competitive.”
  1. “In a business where bakers have knowledge of digital technologies, there is clear communication between management and bakers on potential tactical shifts in operations and product offerings. Value can be unlocked, and product innovation opportunities are opened up,” mentioned Mr Benedict Yeo, Managing Director of Addpetizer. “Skilled bakers have great potential to translate their understanding of the product and the market to larger scale domains.”

Nurturing the next generation of bakers

  1. A key part of transforming the baking workforce into Baker 4.0 is to nurture the next generation of bakers, who will shape the future of the baking and confectionary industry. As part of the Baker 4.0 initiative, the inaugural Junior Baker Symposium was organised by e2i and Creative Culinaire, the training company of Chef Judy Koh, Secretary General Singapore Bakery & Confectionery Trade Association.
  1. On top of Chef Judy, the symposium brought in 2 other renowned bakers – Chef Peter Yuen, an international bakery consultant, and Chef Steven Ong, and equipped over 50 Junior Bakers on the future trends and developments in the technical skillsets in the industry.
  1. Chef Judy Koh, Secretary General Singapore Bakery & Confectionery Trade Association, said, “The baking profession is tough – you must have pride and passion in what you do. I feel there is a need to support and inspire junior bakers, so that they too can feel the same pride in the profession. If you have passion for baking, you will have the stamina for the profession.”

Nurturing the next generation of bakers

  1. With the identification of the key skills gaps in the sector, e2i and SBCTA is looking at rolling out training initiatives to plug the skills gaps. One of the initiatives that is currently in development is a series of modules being developed by Creative Culinaire, and conducted by Chef Judy Koh, with a focus on bakery management, bread, cake and pastry skills. Eligible candidates can potentially receive up to 70% funding on the course fee with a salary adjustment after training to signify the recognition by the bosses of the additional skill sets acquired through training.
  1. On top of the course, SBCTA, e2i and Workforce Singapore (WSG) will be signing an MOU to signify the tripartite commitment to further support the manpower needs of the sector. There will also be a pledge undertaken by 200 baking professionals in the industry to commit to upskilling and deep-skilling towards becoming Baker 4.0.
  1. “As customers become more exposed to different types of breads and pastries from an increasing number of local and international bakeries, the baking industry will have to step up their game to win the hearts and the taste buds of our food-passionate locals,” said Mr Gilbert Tan, Chief Executive Officer of e2i. “With training, bakers can be equipped with the necessary skill sets to maximise the efficiency of their work, innovate to come up with new, delicious products to excite their customers, and increase the overall competitiveness of the business. e2i is looking forward to our continued partnership with SBCTA to roll out more training initiatives for our local bakers and bakeries.”