Execs by day, students by night

(From far left) Vincent Tan, Tracy Le and Jane Teo are management trainees at the ERC Institute.

Management trainees here study and work in the same school

BY day, Jane Teo works as a business executive in a private school.
By night, the 18-year-old is a student at that same school- ERC Institute.

She and Vincent Tan, 20, also a business executive, are part of the work-study scheme that the school, which is owned by ERC Holdings, came up with.

During the day, both Jane and Vincent make presentations to secondary schools about what the school offers, and at night, they attend lectures at the school on River Valley Road.

They joined the school last year to get a certificate in business. They got their qualification and are now pursuing a diploma in tourism and hospitality.
Under the scheme- called the management trainee programme-students can study at the school and work in various companies owned by ERC and its partners, They are paid, of course.

The scheme was launched this year. One of the school’s partners in this venture is Apex-Pal International, the food and beverages company which runs the Sakae Sushi chain of restaurants.

Said Mr Andy Ong, chief executive officer of ERC Holdings, which has 19 companies employing 100 people: “We started this programme because we are short of people to grow our own companies.”

He said Mr Douglas Foo, chief executive of Apex-Pal, needs “a lot of talent” to grow his sushi chain aboard.

He added: “We want to train people according to the standards and specifications we want.”
“It’s the No.1 constraint to their growth right now,” he said.
So who would qualify for this programme?
He said emphatically: “People with drive who want to make something out of themselves.”
“We are willing to groom them.”

Mr Ong added: “An entrepreneur is someone who has strong ideas and an even stronger back.”
Dr Jurgen Rudolph, who is the institute’s chief operating officer, added: “You also need some tolerance for risk.”
Mr Ong said a panel will select the candidates for this programme after interested students have gone through an interview with the school’s senior management and the human resource departments of the relevant companies.

The candidates are expected to work in various sectors, including marketing, sales, operations, project management and finance.

They will be paid for their work and be given promotion opportunities.

Mr Ong said they structured it in such a way that “students can pay their own school fees with the money they earn”.

Those who want to opt out halfway, can do so. There is no bond or sum to pay back.
Dr Veeda Maraj, the school’s academic director, said: “For this programme, we select candidates based on them meeting the admission requirement. These candidates want to work and learn at the same time so we customise schedules to meet that need.”

Tracy Le, 26, is one of the school’s students who opted to become a management trainee.

She came to Singapore from Vietnam in July 2006 to do her Masters in Business Administration in entrepreneurship management. This programme is offered in partnership with the Entrepreneurship Institute Australia.

She said she could not study and work at the same time, as she was a foreign student.

She clinched the management trainee job, however, when she graduated among the top three in her class of over 20 students.

Tracy now helps with the administration of the school.

She said: “I’m not only learning about administration but also about customer service and marketing.”

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The New Paper
24 Jan 2008

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