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Expanded programme to help rough sleepers, vulnerable groups enter workforce

SINGAPORE: A programme to help vulnerable people - such as rough sleepers and those with mental health conditions, will be expanded from July, the SBF Foundation said on Wednesday (May 18).

SBF Foundation, the social impact arm of Singapore Business Federation (SBF), signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Singapore Human Resources Institute, e2i and Tote Board to provide employability support for four vulnerable groups.

These are rough sleepers, long-term unemployed parents and caregivers of at-risk children, people with mental health conditions and women facing challenges.

"The four partners will contribute their resources and expertise to build a more resilient and inclusive local workforce," said SBF Foundation in a press release.

Over the next three years, SBF Foundation aims to help 300 people a year from four programme partners - Daughters Of Tomorrow, the Singapore Association for Mental Health, New Hope Community Services and SHINE Children & Youth Services.

They will be given personalised aid and dedicated platforms to help them enter or re-enter the workforce, said the SBF Foundation.

This follows its existing support towards the employment of homeless individuals since 2017 and the expansion to include unemployed parents of at-risk children in 2020.

A hundred employers have since offered jobs to the two vulnerable groups. Programme partners will also address their social-emotional, financial and housing needs.

SBF Foundation will raise S$1 million annually for the Employability Fund from the business community. The Fund was started in 2020 with an initial funding of S$800,000 from SBF Foundation and Tote Board.

“Being employed provides one a sense of security, achievement and purpose in life … improving the employment prospects for Singapore’s more vulnerable workers is a relentless effort, and we wish to rally our members of the business community to join us and our partners in these efforts,” said Mr Hsieh Fu Hua, chairman of the SBF Foundation.

SBF Foundation also aims to reach out to 120 employers to take part in Empower Circles to help them better understand ways to support individuals in challenging circumstances.

Launched in March 2021, Empower Circles is a peer learning platform to forge progressive hiring practices among the business community.

NTUC deputy secretary-general Chee Hong Tat said at the MOU signing that the labour movement fully supports causes that empower individuals and families through work. 

"Because every worker matters, and we want to make sure that we create Singapore to be a society where we leave no one behind," he said.

He added: "When we work, we contribute to our families and to our communities. These intangible benefits are just as important as earning an income."

He said that another group NTUC is helping are long term visit pass plus (LTVP+) holders who are typically spouses of Singaporeans.

He urged those who know of any LTVP+ holder who need help and employers open to hiring this group of workers to connect with e2i.

Source: CNA/nh


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