Spread your wings as a ‘Hawkerpreneur’ with S$11K Temasek Poly certificate program

There’s now an academic route to operating a food stall in Singapore.

Complementing news that Singapore’s hawker centers recently won renowned UNESCO cultural recognition, the city-state is launching one-year diploma programs for vocational students to help keep the hawker trade alive. 

Classes start in March at Temasek Polytechnic for just over S$11,000 (US$8,000), with Singaporeans and permanent residents paying a fraction of that at just over S$1,700. None of the lecturers listed for the Certificate in Hawkerpreneurship program are hawkers themselves but rather includes chefs Paul Sin Fook Choy and Randy Chow. 

“[T]he new 12-month course is designed to meet the needs of younger aspiring hawkers by offering a longer, more structured curriculum while optimising their learning experiences and skills development to run a hawker business or enter the F&B trade,” the national environment agency, which manages some of Singapore’s hawker centers, announced yesterday. 

The Work-Study Post-Diploma program is open to polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education (ITE) grads.

Hawkers, as street-stall vendors are known, have been around since the mid-20th century but in recent years their ranks have thinned as they retire without replacements.

In the academic program, budding hawkers won’t be under constant verbal abuse like those in Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen, but they will be expected to study topics including cooking techniques, new recipes, marketing, and food hygiene before going on to train with experienced hawkers and set up their own stall. A monthly training allowance of S$1,000 will be given to each student.

Applications close Feb. 7.

Other stories you should check out:

Singapore’s hawker culture recommended for UNESCO’s cultural heritage list
Brew of the people: Find Ren Min’s new craft bottles at two hawker centers

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