First vocational training centre for people with mental health conditions opens

SINGAPORE - The first vocational training centre offering Workforce Skills Qualifications courses and job placement support for people with mental health conditions was officially opened on Saturday (Oct 1).

Located at Block 257, Jurong East Street 24, the Mindset Learning Hub provides integrated hands-on training and facilitates job placements for people recovering from mental illness.

It is a collaboration between the Singapore Association for Mental Health and Jardine Matheson Group's registered charity, Mindset Care Limited.

The centre aims to equip up to 300 trainees a year with skills in the hospitality, healthcare support, cleaning, retail and food and beverage sectors to secure employment.

Encompassing 5,800 sq ft of space, the centre consists of four training classrooms and four simulated training environments - a cafe, hotel room, patient-care room and a commercial food preparation area.

"With proper training facilities, skills certification that is purposefully tailored for this group of clients, then with the integration back to jobs, with job opportunities provided, I think this is a real support system that I think we've been waiting for a long time," said Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu at the centre's opening.

According to the Singapore Mental Health Study in 2010, the rate of unemployment among people with mental illnesses was 11.1 per cent, compared with 6.7 per cent among those without mental illness.

The data also showed that the rate of mental illness in people who are unemployed is twice as high as compared to those who are employed (5.3 per cent versus 2.3 per cent).