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[VIDEO] Behind-the-scenes of how SIA creates the Singapore Girl

The journey to become the iconic Singapore Girl is no walk in the park. Neo Xiaobin gets an inside look at the rigorous training that cabin crew trainees go through.

Singapore Airlines (SIA) turns 70 this year but the Singapore Girl is ever ageless, her smiling face inseparable from the national carrier, which is now an acclaimed airline with 109 aircraft.

Having made impeccable service one of its selling points, SIA scours locally and overseas for talent for its crew. The search includes countries such as Malaysia, India, Thailand, Japan, South Korea and China. Importance is placed on recruiting men and women who are customer-orientated, resourceful and team players.

In Singapore, interviews are held every month and each recruitment exercise draws an average of 900 applicants. SIA’s male to female ratio for cabin crew is 40 to 60.Once candidates are chosen, they are put through a rigorous 15-week training programme comprising classroom and on-the-job training.

  • To uphold a positive and professional image of SIA, cabin crew trainees learn how to climb the stairs and walk gracefully in their kebayas during a deportment and etiquette class. Besides social and business etiquette, basic postures while standing, sitting, reaching and walking are also covered.

    The distinctive kebaya uniform, designed by French couturier Pierre Balmain, was introduced in 1968. Tailor-made for every female cabin-crew member, trainees do the fitting during the first month of their training.

This includes foundation training for the personal and soft skills they will need as the face of the airline; fleet training for their job-specific duties; and safety training, which focuses on security, crisis response and first aid.

Before trainees attend to their first passengers, they have three observation flights in which they are assigned to a mentor whom they shadow and observe. Executive photojournalist from The Straits Times, Neo Xiaobin, takes an exclusive look behind the scenes at what it takes to become a Singapore icon. The video can be viewed here.

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This story first appeared on The Straits Times.