Rough sleepers, other vulnerable groups to get more help securing jobs

A new programme aims to help 300 people annually seek employment over the next three years. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Rough sleepers, people with mental health conditions and other vulnerable groups will be able to get more help securing employment through a new initiative that aims to build a more inclusive local workforce.

Over the next three years, the programme aims to help 300 people annually get jobs by providing them with job coaching, encouraging human resource professionals to practise inclusive hiring and supporting businesses that offer job opportunities to people from these groups.

The initiative is a partnership between SBF Foundation, which is the social impact arm of Singapore Business Federation (SBF), Singapore Human Resources Institute (SHRI), National Trades Union Congress’ Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) and Tote Board.

The four partners signed a memorandum of understanding on Wednesday (May 18), with the initiative aiming to raise $1 million annually for the efforts through SBF Foundation's Employability Fund, on top of seed funding of $800,000 from SBF Foundation and Tote Board.

It will help four vulnerable groups in society - rough sleepers, long-term unemployed parents and caregivers of at-risk children, persons with mental health conditions and women facing challenges.

SBF Foundation has also appointed four programme partners who have ground experience working with the different groups, namely Daughters Of Tomorrow, Singapore Association for Mental Health, New Hope Community Services and Shine Children and Youth Services.

The programme partners will identify individuals in need and work to provide them with the help they need to get them job-ready, such as working with job coaches.

Social workers or case managers from these programme partners will also ensure other support that is important for one to seek and sustain employment is provided, such as taking care of their emotional needs and helping with permanent housing arrangements.

SBF Foundation will also encourage businesses to offer job opportunities for the initiative, and SHRI will reach out to human resource professionals to encourage them to adopt more inclusive hiring practices.

SBF Foundation has provided job support to homeless individuals and unemployed parents of at-risk children since 2017 and 2020, respectively.

It has provided 1,019 people in total with employability support between 2017 and 2021, with 627 getting jobs. Chairman of SBF Foundation Hsieh Fu Hua said that the four partners share a common goal to engage and enable the business community to uplift the lives of vulnerable individuals and their families.

He said: "We believe that people are at the heart of businesses. A compassionate and proactive business community will create a more sustainable and resilient socio-economic landscape in Singapore."

Chief executive of e2i Caryn Lim said: "Helping our vulnerable workers with gainful employment provides them with a sense of purpose and has many intangible benefits."

Join ST's WhatsApp Channel and get the latest news and must-reads.