New training academies to be set up within prisons to help inmates carve careers

Score was set up in 1976, to help inmates with vocational and skills training, and to help them secure jobs after their release.
Score was set up in 1976, to help inmates with vocational and skills training, and to help them secure jobs after their release.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Prison inmates here will have access to specialist training programmes, from precision engineering classes to media skills training, to help them land a career after their release.

The industry-specific training will cover skills required in emerging markets identified by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, said the Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises (Score) in a statement on Tuesday (April 21).

Score was set up in 1976 to help inmates with vocational and skills training, and to help them secure jobs after their release.

This year, for a start, the organisation will set up two academies within the prison compound, to train inmates in precision engineering and media skills.

About 40 inmates are expected to be trained in precision engineering.

Upon their release, they will be placed with member companies of the Singapore Precision Engineering and Technology Association, which partnered Score to set up one of the academies.

Separately, between 40 and 80 inmates are expected to be trained in media skills, such as digital marketing and film production, through the training academy Score is setting up with Mediacorp.

Classes are expected to commence in the third quarter of this year.

Besides industry-specific training, inmates have other academic and training options behind bars, including Workforce Skills Qualification courses conducted by Score and academic lessons gearing them for GCE O-level and A-level examinations.

Giving inmates more options, including industry-specific training, is part of Score's plan to shift its emphasis from training and job placement to one that focuses on the inmate's long-term career development.

To do this, the organisation has partnered employers, trade associations, training institutions and community partners to set up training academies in prisons.

 
 
 

Over the years, it has trained more than 200,000 inmates and helped over 100,000 secure jobs after their release.

Mr Matthew Wee Yik Keong, chief executive of Score, said the shift in focus represents the next step for the Yellow Ribbon cause, as the organisation strives for a society where former offenders are actively paying it forward and giving back to the community.

The organisation will be rebranded as Yellow Ribbon Singapore from May 1.

Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister for Manpower and Second Minister for Home Affairs said it is important for former offenders to hold down a stable job, as it gives them a sense of personal fulfilment in being able to contribute to their families' well-being.

She added: "I am thankful to employers, companies and organisations which continue to support this noble cause of giving our ex-offenders a second chance in life, and in this way contribute to a more inclusive Singapore."