Passing the SQ cabin crew recruitment interviews is an accomplishment, but the real test is to complete the intensive training programme. During the four months of training, you prepare to be a cabin crew by taking courses on topics like grooming, service procedures and safety knowledge. When I first started training, I felt a little overwhelmed because there were so many things to learn and rules to follow. However, I ended up gaining a lot from this experience. Here are the 8 things that I learned during SQ training.
1. How to do my own hair and makeup
One of the first classes that we attended was the grooming class. We had to learn how to apply makeup and style our hair according to SQ regulations. There were frequent grooming checks to ensure that we always were up-to-standard, so we had to make sure that our hair and make-up was perfect all the time. I was a no-frills kind of girl when it came to makeup, but after the training, I was able to put on a full face of makeup and style my hair perfectly like a pro by 7 in the morning every day.
2. The importance of good manners
As part of our training, we were asked to smile and greet everyone we met, from the security guard to office staff from the moment we stepped into the training centre. We were also always saying “please”, “thank you”, and “sorry”. This helped us to treat every person we met with the same level of courtesy regardless of who they were, and we treated our passengers the same way.
3. The importance of punctuality
Tardiness was not tolerated, and we were expected to always be on time for lessons. If someone came back to class five minutes late from lunch and did not have a valid reason, we could face a penalty, so we made sure that by hook or by crook, we were all seated in class before the trainer walked in. This sense of urgency trained us to be punctual so we could adhere to the strict reporting times when we started flying.
During training, we would do things like buying a bottle of mineral water before class and placing it on the table for the trainer or taking the initiative to help out whenever we could. Being proactive helped us learn how to anticipate someone’s needs, which later enabled us to serve our passengers better on-board. This also conditioned us to work well with our fellow crew and increased our efficiency as we were able to get things done without being told.
5. How to save lives
We had to undergo CPR and basic first-aid training so that we could be equipped to handle a medical emergency on-board. As SQ girls, we need to know what to do if someone choked or got scalded as we are usually the first persons to help the passenger. For more serious cases, the crew will need to page for a medical doctor on the flight and assist whenever needed.
6. Arming myself with knowledge about other countries
We were required to be familiar with the procedures and guidelines for in-flight service and product knowledge. We also needed to learn about the aircraft fleet, basic first-aid, operation of safety equipment and how to handle emergencies on-board. It was also compulsory to know key information about the destinations we fly to like their time zones and Liquids, Aerosols and Gels restrictions. There were a lot of different types of information that we needed to absorb but when we had this knowledge at our fingertips, training became less stressful. Later on, we could carry out our duties on-board confidently and competently as we knew what was expected of us.
When you are a trainee, you must learn how to carry yourself gracefully although you are not in uniform yet. You must be conscious of your posture, the way you speak to others, and acts like laughing loudly and making a ruckus when you are having lunch in the canteen is a big no-no. There were social etiquette and deportment classes that taught us how to walk gracefully in the kebaya. By the time we graduated, we were able to wear the kebaya with pride and live up to the image of the Singapore Girl.
8. Learn from feedback
During training, we were frequently corrected for things like not applying our makeup or styling our hair properly, forgetting to greet someone, etc. It was discouraging at first, but I learned to focus on what I could do to do better instead of feeling upset about the negative feedback. When I started flying, I tried my best to not take feedback personally and I was able to learn so much more because I was receptive to the senior crew’s feedback.
*All photos are for illustration purposes only and do not depict the writer.
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