After seven months of working with the NTUC Industry Training and Transformation (NTUC IT&T) to transform its business model and workforce, BELLS Academic Group (BELLS AG) has launched the BELLS Baking Studio to nurture and upskills talent for the baking industry. NTUC Deputy Secretary-General Chee Hong Tat graced the launch on 18 September 2021 at Suntec City.
The baking studio will provide scaled-up training in professional baking and pastry making in a centralised location, and aims to and facilitate employment opportunities for trainees.
The idea of the 6,000 sq ft baking and pastry training centre was conceptualised during five operation and technology roadmap (OTR) workshop sessions BELLS AG embarked on as part of its efforts to transform the company and workforce. These OTR workshop sessions were facilitated by NTUC IT&T under a company training committee (CTC).
The OTR also saw BELL AG’s senior management discuss key trends, new norms in industry and decide on the milestones and resources required for growth.
Other outcomes that came from the OTR process included introducing customer service training for the company’s staff, implementing digital marketing tools and digitalising customer feedback platforms.
BELLS AG has increased its PME customer base from 5 per cent to 30 per cent by implementing new learning methods and technologies. Since its founding in 2008, BELLS AG has been building learning communities with an employability focus.
BELLS AG CEO Adrian Ang said that the baking studio was one of the key outcomes of the company’s OTR journey. “The OTR process was fruitful and fulfilling, allowing us to identify gaps and implement new ideas to achieve our business goals, increase our competitive edge and upskill our workers. “We are especially proud of how this journey has benefited our trainees as well, equipping them with skills to meet an increasingly demanding employment environment. We would highly encourage companies who are looking to embark on their own workforce and business transformation to undergo the OTR process too,” he said.
BELLS AG is currently unionised under the Education and Services Union (ESU). At the launch event, Mr Chee said: “Through the CTC collaboration platform, NTUC’s training and placement ecosystem has helped unionised companies like BELLS AG to transform their operations, improve their productivity and upskill their workers. We currently have more than 700 CTC partners, and we plan to scale up our efforts to benefit more companies and workers across different industries.” He added that he sees the baking studio as a start of a journey and there are new possibilities in the baking industry.
As a unionised company, BELLS AG also tapped on the NETF Collaborative Fund (NCF) to send 70 staff for training, 30 of whom are union members. Both the ESU and BELLS AG are committed to work together to re-skill and upskill employees with the necessary skills to enhance their employability and meet the needs of Industry 4.0.
ESU President Desmond John Chin Kong Thai said: “BELLS AG is our first unionised company that completed the OTR process and we hope to see more of our unionised companies coming onboard as well. This business and workforce transformation journey is a testament of how the company and its employees can stand to benefit from being a partner of the union. “On top of actualising the company’s goal, our union members would also be upskilled during the process and this is the win-win outcome that we want to achieve.”
With the launch of BELLS Baking Studio, BELLS AG will also be working with NTUC’s e2i (Employment and Employability Institute) on a Place-and-Train initiative to help place trainees into jobs within the industry and supplement them with continuous education and training. The launch event also saw Mr Chee witness an agreement signing between employers and BELLS Baking Studio to help aspiring bakers hone their skills and find employment in the baking industry.