SINGAPORE, November 1, 2006 – Some 380 inmates met with 18 employers from various industries as well as three self-help groups at the Yellow Ribbon Job Fair 2006 at Cluster A, organised by the Community Action for the Rehabilitation of Ex-offenders (CARE) Network and the North East Community Development Council (CDC). The Yellow Ribbon Job Fair is part of the Yellow Ribbon Project which aims to generate awareness of the difficulties ex-offenders and their families face, and to call for community acceptance and action to support the reintegration of ex-offenders.
During the Job Fair, the inmates met and interviewed with 18 employers across diverse sectors, including food, retail, manufacturing, marine, and service. They also learnt about the skills development programmes offered by the Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC), Eurasian Association-SINDA Career Link and SENSE Division/Yayasan Mendaki.
Guest-of-honour, Mr Zainul Abidin Rasheed, Senior Minister of State, Minstry of Foreign Affairs & Mayor of North East CDC, also visited the Career Resource Centre (CRC) at Changi Prison Cluster A. The CRC is managed by the Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises (SCORE) and is a one-stop facility that provides inmates with career resource materials and access to SCORE’s online job portal. Two new CRCs will be set up in Admiralty West Prison and Changi Women’s Prison in November and December respectively to train inmates in employment-related skills such as conducting a job search and tips in writing a resume.
Eighteen employers across diverse sectors, including food, retail, manufacturing, marine, and service, participated in this Yellow Ribbon Job Fair, offering a total of 1,274 jobs. Twelve of the organizations are multi-national companies with regional/global businesses, such as Cars International and Parkway Hospitals Singapore Pte Ltd. Demonstrating their long-term commitment to giving offenders a second chance, seven of the 18 employers are repeat participants, having participated in the previous Yellow Ribbon Job Fairs. They include Apex-Pal International Ltd and Surpass Unity Pte Ltd.
In addition, three self-help groups, namely Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC), Eurasian Association-SINDA Career Link and SENSE Division/Yayasan Mendaki also offered skills upgrading programmes to participating offenders.
Approximately 380 pre-release offenders and offenders selected to participate in the Work Release Scheme participated in the Yellow Ribbon Job Fair. These inmates are currently incarcerated at Changi Prison Cluster A, Changi Women’s Prison, Selarang Park DRC, Lloyd Leas Work Release Camp, Admiralty West Prison and Tanah Merah Prison. These offenders had undergone vocational training, education and counseling while in custody at the various institutions.
Prior to their participation in the Job Fair, they were also trained by North East CDC on basic interview techniques, resume writing skills, and were also given an update on the growing industries and availability of career opportunities. Preparing potential job seekers for the current employment market is an integral part of North East CDC’s mission of promoting self-help. Staff from North East CDC also promoted the Re-Employment Support Scheme (RESS) through counseling to encourage offenders to not only secure employment at the Job Fair, but also remain in the job.
In addition, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) also conducted Behaviour Modification Workshops for 60 selected inmate participants over the last month. The workshop, known as Theory of Constraint, provided the inmates with simple and logical tools to address conflicts and helped them remove self-created barriers towards employment.
EMPLOYMENT AND AFTERCARE ASSISTANCE
After the Job Fair, SCORE’s Employment Assistance Officers, as well as Career Consultants from North East CDC will follow up with offenders who have secured employment.
SACA and SANA Aftercare Case Managers will also follow up then them to handle their aftercare needs, such as financial assistance, accommodation and counseling through their Case Management Progamme and Befriender Scheme.