PA scheme to teach 'vulnerable' residents basic skills

More than 700 people will be getting lessons in a range of skills, including basic household repair work, financial literacy and information technology.

The monthly lessons are part of a scheme launched by the People's Association (PA) yesterday, after a trial that began in April.

The Project We Care (PWC) Enrich Lab @ RC will involve 24 of the PA's corporate and community partners who will teach these skills to residents in six Residents' Committees (RCs) - Yio Chu Kang Zone 9, Rivervale Arc, Kebun Bahru View, Dakota, Marine Crescent Ville and Taman Jurong Zone B.

The PWC committee hopes to expand the initiative to 60 partners and 60 RCs islandwide, serving 10,000 "vulnerable" residents by next year. These residents include low-income families, single mothers and people with disabilities.

At the launch event in Yio Chu Kang Zone 9 RC yesterday, there were several sharing sessions by partners from the PWC Network. One of the partners, Tata Consultancy, taught 20 students from low-income families how to use photo-editing and Microsoft PowerPoint software. Fifteen low-income residents and youth also picked up practical household repair skills from engineering firm Bintai Kindenko.

As part of the PWC Enrich Lab @ RC initiative, young people from Yio Chu Kang will form a support group to help the elderly in their community with household repairs.

Dr Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister of State (Trade and Industry, and National Development), said at yesterday's event: "The PWC sessions not only equip our residents with practical skills, but also make them feel empowered and confident as they apply their newly acquired skills in their day-to-day activities, such as assembling furniture and repairing leaking taps, and even soft skills like managing children with learning challenges."

Ang Mo Kio resident Catherine Chew, 61, who learnt basic plumbing skills at a workshop conducted by Bintai Kindenko, said: "Many of us live alone, and sometimes, we need help. For small things like plumbing, we can now help ourselves."

Project We Care chairman Wee Wei Ling hopes the initiative will "encourage the rise of a neighbourhood spirit". Residents equipped with such skills might even be able to help their neighbours, she added.

Ms Vasumathi Parthasarathy, Tata Consultancy Services' head of human resources for Singapore, was a volunteer at the photo-editing and PowerPoint workshop. She said: "Project We Care is about skills development for students and mature people... It's going to benefit the community at large."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 10, 2017, with the headline 'PA scheme to teach 'vulnerable' residents basic skills'. Print Edition | Subscribe