New training kitchen at Changi Prison Complex helps released offenders find jobs

Official opening of Hope Cafe, a training kitchen and restaurant in Changi Prison Complex, which aims to provide offenders with industry training and Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications certifications to improve their chances of being hired aft
Official opening of Hope Cafe, a training kitchen and restaurant in Changi Prison Complex, which aims to provide offenders with industry training and Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications certifications to improve their chances of being hired after being released from prison. -- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
Official opening of Hope Cafe, a training kitchen and restaurant in Changi Prison Complex, which aims to provide offenders with industry training and Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications certifications to improve their chances of being hired aft
Official opening of Hope Cafe, a training kitchen and restaurant in Changi Prison Complex, which aims to provide offenders with industry training and Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications certifications to improve their chances of being hired after being released from prison. -- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
Official opening of Hope Cafe, a training kitchen and restaurant in Changi Prison Complex, which aims to provide offenders with industry training and Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications certifications to improve their chances of being hired aft
Official opening of Hope Cafe, a training kitchen and restaurant in Changi Prison Complex, which aims to provide offenders with industry training and Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications certifications to improve their chances of being hired after being released from prison. -- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

SINGAPORE - A training kitchen and cafe inside Changi Prison Complex has been helping offenders land jobs even before they are released.

In the six months leading up to their release, offenders keen to pursue careers in the food and beverage (F&B) industry can attend courses under the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) framework and gain hands-on training at Hope Cafe.

Officially opened on Tuesday, the cafe is a collaboration between the Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises and the Singapore Workforce Development Agency.

Since the training started in November last year, 154 offenders have taken modules under the WSQ framework, working towards certificates in culinary arts and F&B operations.

The 109 trainees that have been released from prison all secured jobs in the hospitality industry. The remaining 45, who have yet to be released, will be given job placement help nearer to their release dates.

"It is important to ensure that offenders are trained in relevant skills before their release," said Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Manpower and Health, who was the guest of honour at the cafe's official opening ceremony on Tuesday.

"(They) will gain an increased level of self-confidence, be meaningfully employed, develop good work habits, and ultimately, positively organise their lives,"

She added that with the more than 6,000 vacancies in the F&B sector last year, "this presents a great opportunity for us to grow a pool of trained workers to take on these jobs".

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