Twenty polytechnic graduates have become the first batch to undergo on-the-job training with the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme.

They have been placed at 12 food manufacturers, where they will learn food product innovation, food processing, food safety and quality management.

They will start off with a salary of at least $1,900 throughout an 18-month programme that aims to provide a career headstart.

"From the industry perspective, the programme strengthens the local talent pipeline for food technologists, food processing engineers and quality assurance officers," said Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Manpower and Health, at the programme's launch on Wednesday morning.

The students will graduate with an Advanced Diploma in Applied Food Science awarded by Singapore Polytechnic. They could also receive a 10 per cent pay rise after the programme.

The Workforce Development Agency said it is working on other initiatives to complement the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme for food manufacturing.

One is a two-year Master's programme, the Manufacturing STEP Scholarship, in which 12 recipients will work on industry research projects in their companies supervised by Britain's Newcastle University.