More help for women to relaunch careers

About 130 women learnt about the Career Re:Launch programme yesterday at a career fair. One mum keen to join it is Ms Cassandra Nadira Lee (above).
About 130 women learnt about the Career Re:Launch programme yesterday at a career fair. One mum keen to join it is Ms Cassandra Nadira Lee.PHOTO: GIN TAY FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
About 130 women learnt about the Career Re:Launch programme yesterday at a career fair. One mum keen to join it is Ms Cassandra Nadira Lee (above).
About 130 women learnt about the Career Re:Launch programme yesterday at a career fair. One mum keen to join it is Ms Cassandra Nadira Lee (above).PHOTO: GIN TAY FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

A second organisation will link employers to the Manpower Ministry's new grant for companies offering "returnship" programmes, and it aims to help women who took a career break adjust back to the workforce.

Career Navigators, an arm of social enterprise Mums@Work, yesterday started its Career Re:Launch programme for female professionals, managers, executives and technicians who have not been working for at least two years.

It comes several weeks after the National Trades Union Congress' U Family Unit last month announced its Returners Programme, which will also administer the grant.

That scheme provides partial government funding for training allowances for new hires.

Participants in Career Re:Launch apply for jobs in companies on a trial basis. Before they start work, they will attend short training modules on business and technology to update their knowledge and skills.

They will also be paired with a younger mentor from the team they are joining, so that they can exchange ideas and perspectives.

This is on top of on-the-job training by employers over the work-trial period of at least 12 weeks. During the programme, employers pay staff a monthly training allowance of at least $2,500. 

They can apply for a Government grant for $1,500 of this amount for up to six months.

Employers who retain new staff for at least three months after the work trial will get a one-off $3,000 retention bonus from the Government. It will be given nine months after the start of the work trial.

A poll released by recruitment firm Robert Walters earlier this year found that 72 per cent of the women surveyed in Singapore have taken a career break at some point in their lives.

Mums@Work founder Sher-Li Torrey said such women "often get drowned out by the currently working group when it comes to getting headhunters' or recruiters' attention". "But they just need a couple of months and some training to come back on board," she said, adding that they bring valuable skills and diversity to companies.

The programme's first two runs start in October and next January, with a target of 12 places per run. It is open to Singaporeans aged 30 and above who have at least a diploma qualification.

Individuals and employers interested can visit www.careerrelaunchprogramme.com for more details. Applications open next Monday.

Yesterday, about 130 women learnt about the scheme at a career fair held by Career Navigators at The Working Capitol in Keong Saik Road. Employers present included Mastercard, Airbnb and PwC.

One mum keen to join the programme is Ms Cassandra Nadira Lee, 43, a former marketer who left her job 10 years ago as her husband was posted overseas.

She completed a coaching certification last year and hopes to land a learning and development role now that her two sons are in school.

"I'm quite excited to work with younger people through the reverse mentorship, and see what can be created by inserting an older person like myself into the new work environment," she said.

Correction note: In an earlier version of the story, we said that Mums@Work will be administering the Government grant for returnship programmes. MOM has since clarified that Mums@Work will not administer the grant, but will manage applications to NTUC for the grant on behalf of companies in the Career Re:Launch programme.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 17, 2017, with the headline 'More help for women to relaunch careers'. Print Edition | Subscribe