WHEN Vicknesh Roshan heard about a food and beverage apprenticeship at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS), he wasted no time in signing up.

The 16-year-old Swiss Cottage Secondary School student wanted to learn about how a restaurant works so that he could fulfil his dream.

'I would like to open my own restaurant one day,' he said. 'It has been a great experience learning from the experts.'

He was among 11 teenagers who graduated from the integrated resort's aRWSome Apprenticeship scheme, which aims to provide underprivileged youngsters with work experience.

Mentored by the company's staff, the 11 apprentices, aged 15 to 17, completed a three-day culinary course in June and a two-week work placement yesterday.

They learnt how to make dishes such as ravioli and Vietnamese rice paper rolls from the resort's chefs, and how to wait tables and attend to customer requests.

The young people come from families with household incomes below $1,500, and were recommended to the programme by voluntary welfare organisations and the Ministry of Education.

Ong Dong Hui, 16, said one important lesson he learnt from his apprenticeship is that service staff should always have a good attitude, which diners will then reciprocate.

'Once, a customer complained that his coffee was not hot enough,' he said. 'I just smiled, apologised and offered him another cup. He didn't kick up a fuss.'

Dong Hui and Vicknesh will be returning to RWS to work part-time during the school holidays.

Minister of State for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin said such programmes help impart life skills. 'You learn to be humble, to be disciplined, to be responsible. These are values you will need no matter what you do in life.'

RWS chief executive Tan Hee Teck said the resort will organise other apprenticeships in hospitality, theme park operations and entertainment.