Social enterprise's programme helps 155 women to go back to work

A 15-month programme that aimed to help women enter or rejoin the workforce saw more than half the participants placed in jobs.

Nearly three quarters of 155 women stayed in their jobs for at least three months, Mendaki's subsidiary training arm, Social Enterprise Network Singapore (Sense), said on Wednesday.

The programme, called Project Step Out, catered to women above the age of 21 who had been unemployed for more than six months and wanted to find work. From October 2012 to December 2013, it raised Sense's job placement rate for back-to-work women to 53 per cent, up from around a third.

Some 260 women who completed the programme each attended 148 hours of training last year, including Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) modules in using word processing software and cultivating a mindset of service innovation. They received up to $3,000 in funding from the Singapore Workforce Development Agency to attend the WSQ programmes, which are part of a national training framework.

They also went for workshops such as career readiness and resume writing, as Sense found that the majority of the women lacked the skills and confidence to go for interviews.

Sense then invited employers to visit classes and graduation ceremonies to interview candidates, and a case management officer also helped to do one-to-one job matching and provide information on childcare.

The programme has been extended for another year and will focus on the service, education and hospitality sectors. Sense said it hopes to reach another 250 women through the programme and will start its outreach at an upcoming career fair from March 28 to March 30 outside Woodlands Civic Centre.