SINGAPORE - Reitrees in the North East District can now contribute to the community and earn some cash.
The North East Community Development Council (CDC) introduced a new programme at the start of this month to provide part-time jobs in the community for people aged 62 and above.
Participants of the Community Employment Programme for Active Agers are paid $5 an hour, for up to 10 hours a week.
They can work part-time as mobile library assistants, estate inspectors and residents' committee centre assistants who do administrative work, among others.
The CDC introduced the programme as it had received feedback from some seniors in the district that they have good health and free time, and want to "contribute to society or get employment", said its spokesman.
"While the seniors are open to volunteering... we would like to offer an alternative option in which they can receive basic remuneration for their time and commitment," she said.
A survey which the CDC conducted last month after it started planning the new scheme found that 66 per cent of the 56 respondents, aged 55 to 90, wanted to continue working after retirement.
Mr Teo Ser Luck, Mayor of North East District, said the programme allows "elderly residents to take on simple jobs with flexible hours, contribute and serve a purpose within the community".
The seniors benefit from adopting active lifestyles, while younger people learn from the seniors' wisdom and experiences, he said.
The jobs available under the new scheme are similar to another one for job-seekers, the Community Employment Programme, launched by the CDC in 2011.
That has helped more than 620 people find temporary positions. Of these, 97 even went on to secure permanent jobs.
Mr Seah Kian Peng, an MP for Marine Parade GRC, said it is a good idea for the new scheme to tap such informal sources of manpower to meet the needs of the community - a suggestion he raised in Parliament last month.
"Volunteerism is important, but you cannot totally rely on that and the elderly should be given different options of working and volunteering," he said.
Silver Spring, which helps elderly people find jobs, is starting to see more seniors keen on parttime jobs such as retail promoters, said its chief executive Helen Lim.
Over the past six months or so, about half of those who were matched to jobs got part-time positions or those with flexi-work arrangements.
Ms Lim said: "They want to have time available to take care of their grandchildren, but also want to be meaningfully employed."
This article was published on April 15 in The Straits Times.
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