SINGAPORE - Inmates and former convicts will have more opportunities for careers in the logistics industry after their release, with a training academy set up in Changi Prison Complex from November.
More than 500 inmates are expected to benefit from the courses on offer each year, in the tie-up between Yellow Ribbon Singapore and the Singapore Logistics Association (SLA) inked on Monday (Aug 23).
This is part of Yellow Ribbon's efforts to work with the community to reintegrate inmates into society after their release by equipping them with skills required to secure jobs.
Similar programmes are already in place in the precision engineering and media sectors.
The training curriculum covers skills like warehouse and transport management and operation.
SLA will also work with its member companies to facilitate job opportunities for inmates, who will receive a certificate in logistics operations from this industry-accredited course.
Former offenders can also choose to pursue further education at the diploma or advanced diploma level at the logistics academy.
Manpower Minister Tan See Leng witnessed the signing of the memorandum of understanding on Monday in a virtual ceremony by Yellow Ribbon Singapore's chief executive officer Matthew Wee and SLA's chief executive officer Oh Bee Lock.
Mr Tan said in his opening address: "Hiring ex-offenders is society's most powerful way of demonstrating acceptance.
"Research has shown that employment can help to lower recidivism rates too, so offering offenders employment is in fact also helping to keep our society crime-free."
He added that it is also important that the support for offenders is sustained so that they can grow in their careers.
"I hope that more associations and organisations can come forward to work with Yellow Ribbon Singapore so that even more ex-offenders can be supported."
In 2019, the logistics sector employed about 86,000 workers and contributed $6.8 billion or 1.4 per cent of Singapore's gross domestic product.
The sector is expected to grow as Singapore continues to establish itself as a logistics hub amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Yellow Ribbon said in March that it has partnered around 5,900 employers to offer jobs to former offenders.
Many former offenders face challenges after their release, such as drug abstinence, financial issues, or emotional issues with their family.
"This collaboration marks a significant milestone in our continual efforts to expand our Tap and Grow initiative," Mr Wee said, referring to Yellow Ribbon Singapore's project to create a long-term career pathway for inmates and ex-offenders.
"When successfully reintegrated, they too can contribute to society and pay it forward."
Mr Oh added: "We are excited to embark on this meaningful joint initiative with Yellow Ribbon Singapore that helps to nurture a pipeline of potential logistics specialists, and to allow the logistics community to play our part to reintegrate ex-offenders into our society.
"We look forward to lending our expertise and domain know-how to Yellow Ribbon Singapore's new logistics training centre for the skills development of inmates and ex-offenders."