Before starting work here two months ago as a maid, Filipina Michelle Arangote, 32, was put through a two-day orientation programme.
Conducted by the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support & Training (Fast), the training included how to communicate effectively with her Singaporean employer, cooking simple and healthy dishes, and commuting on public transport.
According to Fast, the Onboarding and Integration Programme (OIP), which was launched in July, has helped to reduce the rate of maids leaving the job. Fast's executive director William Chew said employment agency Best Home, for instance, reported that 80 per cent of maids who attended the OIP from July have continued with the same employers since starting work.
Fast is now speaking to the labour ministries in the Philippines and Myanmar to possibly legislate this as a training requirement in the maids' home countries, Fast told The Straits Times yesterday.
Mr Chew said: "It's better to train the foreign domestic workers at the source country and prepare them for what they are going to do in Singapore.
"Over here, I have to cajole the employment agencies to send them for the programme," he said, adding that agencies are usually pressed by employers to release maids as soon as they arrive in Singapore. The two-day programme, which is subsidised, costs about $35 per person.
He spoke on the sidelines of a safety awareness seminar held for domestic workers at the Fast clubhouse in Bukit Merah organised by the Singapore Police Force and the Philippine Embassy.
TRAINING AT SOURCE COUNTRY
It's better to train the foreign domestic workers at the source country and prepare them for what they are going to do in Singapore.
MR WILLIAM CHEW, executive director of Fast.
The OIP will supplement the one-day settling-in programme mandated by the Ministry of Manpower, which covers safety precautions and living in Singapore.
Ms Arangote, who previously worked in Hong Kong, said: "The OIP has been very helpful. I learnt to cook healthier dishes with less oil, which is what my employers in Singapore want."