Sun Ray scheme draws strong interest

Ms Peng Hai Ying, executive director at Sun-dac, said she was attracted to Sun Ray's structured programme.
Ms Peng Hai Ying, executive director at Sun-dac, said she was attracted to Sun Ray's structured programme.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

A centralised manpower recruitment scheme for social service leaders has attracted overwhelming interest.

The Sun Ray scheme, launched in late 2014, was aimed at grooming at least 200 leaders over five years. But within a year of its launch, more than 1,000 people applied for it . The National Council of Social Service (NCSS), which administers the scheme, told The Straits Times that about 40 people are on the scheme. The selection process is ongoing.

Under Sun Ray, social service leaders are rotated to another agency after two to five years, with their salaries, training and career development overseen and determined by the NCSS.

They are put on the same pay scale, depending on experience and expertise, regardless of their organisation.

The NCSS has said previously that social issues were becoming more complex, so leaders need to be rotated to gain exposure to different areas in the social service sector instead of spending years in a single agency.

Among those on the scheme, seven in 10 are new to the sector - either fresh graduates or those making a mid-career switch. Others have been in the social sector previously.

Ms Peng Hai Ying, 35, for instance, held senior positions at two other charities before joining Sun Ray last July.

Now executive director at Sun-dac, a charity which serves people with intellectual disability and cerebral palsy, she said she was attracted to Sun Ray's structured programme . She said: "Due to limited resources, it is not easy for social service organisations to have a plan to ensure their high-potential employees are equipped with the skills necessary to create change. Sun Ray can tailor the development plan for each member, and nurture them to their fullest potential."

She has led several initiatives at Sun-dac, including the use of devices to remotely monitor beneficiaries' progress at home or to track those who tend to wander and get lost. Sun-dac's chairman Peter Low said her leadership had benefited the charity.

"She could identify the gaps and come up with long-term solutions. Her leadership ability and work ethic have transformed the staff morale," he said.

Priscilla Goy and Janice Tai

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 25, 2016, with the headline 'Sun Ray scheme draws strong interest'. Print Edition | Subscribe