SACEOS has established its first partnership with a university yesterday with the signing of a two-year MoU with the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) to promote learning and career development within the MICE industry.
As part of the agreement, SACEOS will help provide placement opportunities for SIT’s Integrated Work Study Programme, which requires students to undertake 8-12 months of paid employment during their studies.
Janet Tan-Collis, president of SACEOS, said industry exposure and soft skills remain important despite the emphasis on paper qualifications today.
“In today’s world, it’s not only important to be academically qualified but also street smart. It’s important to (have real-world experience), (learn about) disposition and also what’s the correct way to behave (in the industry).”
Similarly, professor Loh Han Tong, deputy president (academic) and provost of SIT, said: “SIT students will benefit from SACEOS’ strong global network and also the opportunity of real-world experience in the MICE industry, falling in line with our applied learning philosophy.”
For Tan-Collis, exposing students to the MICE sector through this programme has the added benefit of dispelling industry myths.
“For a long time, there’s been a misperception that MICE is (synonymous) with the hospitality industry. I (want to) show there’s a big difference – it’s not (all) about how you serve someone, making the bed, pairing food. It’s very much about business and entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, (and carving out) a professional career for yourself,” she said.
Without being shown how the industry functions and the gamut of prospects it offers, “it is hard for students to see how they can play a very important role”, Tan-Collis stressed.
And while the partnership could open doors for students, industry players also stand to gain. Participating SMEs could “achieve a reasonable bottomline, remain relevant in the industry and deal with the shortage of manpower (at the same time)”, she added.
But more importantly for her, she believes that young talents could help push the MICE industry to new heights.
“How do you think Grab, Uber and Airbnb came about? These guys came into the industry, saw a (gap), and went for it. That’s what the MICE industry needs – for young people to come in, know what the terrain is, then ask, ‘can we make it better’?”