Tea packing, floral arranging internships for seniors in new PA work series

SINGAPORE - Internships are no longer just for students or fresh graduates looking for work. Senior citizens are now poised to take them up under a new programme launched by the People's Association (PA) Senior Academy.

The Golden Work Series offers participants internships, part-time and light work opportunities with seven partner companies including Far East Flora and sushi chain Sakae Holdings.

Seniors can pick up job skills such as flower arranging or tea packing, while being paid between $5 and $8 for doing so.

Hundreds of seniors attended a Golden Work showcase on Tuesday at Tanjong Pagar Community Centre, where Senior Minister of State for Law and Education Ms Indranee Rajah was guest of honour.

About 100 vacancies will be available half-yearly for over 50s. The average internship period is about a month.

Ms Rajah said: "Senior citizens have a lot to contribute. Some may have retired but it doesn't mean they have lost their skills.

"The series allows seniors to develop an area of interest...and also gives them an opportunity to do some light or part-time work."

Partner company Tea Ideas aims to offer 80 placements for seniors this year. Director Jacinta Ong, 39 - who estimates that the company could make cost savings of up to 25 per cent - said: "Many seniors have told me they find the tea packing therapeutic."

Retired social worker Winnie Chan, 69, who attended a floral arrangement workshop, hopes to do an internship with Far East Flora. She said: "I can still work. If you're still fit and able to contribute, growing old can be fulfilling."

The Golden Work series is the third of the programmes by the academy, which began in February. The first two programmes are a four-month structured Certificate in Senior Wellness programme and a Golden Hobbyist series of one-off elective courses.

Under the Golden Work series, the PA is working with partners such as the Singapore Manufacturing Federation to develop job skills workshops for seniors.

Participants pay $10 for a course if they have a PAssion card, or $20 if not.

oliviaho@sph.com.sg