New training kitchen at Changi Prison Complex helps released offenders find jobs

SINGAPORE - In the six months leading up to their release, offenders keen to pursue careers in the food and beverage (F&B) industry can attend courses under the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) framework and gain hands-on training at Hope Cafe.

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Here is a joint statement from Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises and Singapore Workforce Development Agency:

Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises (SCORE), a statutory board under the Ministry of Home Affairs, today held the opening ceremony of Hope Café, a training kitchen and restaurant within Changi Prison Complex. Hope Café is a joint initiative by SCORE, the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) and Singapore Prison Service (SPS).

Eligible offenders assessed by SCORE to be suitable for jobs in the Hospitality and F&B Industries will undergo hands-on vocational training modules in F&B Operations and Culinary Arts under the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) framework, leading to either a WSQ Certificate in F&B Operations or a WSQ Certificate in Culinary Arts. The alignment with WSQ framework ensures consistency in training, increases job opportunities for offenders and raises hiring confidence among prospective employers from the Hospitality and F&B industries.

"WDA is pleased to partner SCORE in offering training to enhance the employability of offenders. We strongly believe that with the right opportunities and support from employers, offenders with relevant training can reintegrate well into the society and contribute to the workforce," said Mr Ng Cher Pong, Chief Executive, WDA.

More than 150 offenders have been trained in Hope Café, since the facility's inception in November 2013. SCORE expects to train an additional 204 offenders by the end of this year. Upon training completion, SCORE will provide employment assistance to help offenders secure suitable jobs in the Hospitality and F&B industries prior to their release. To facilitate smooth transition into the workforce, job coaches from SCORE will be assigned to address work-related issues, and help them navigate other reintegration challenges they may face.

"Together with the support of our strategic partners WDA and SPS, the setting up of Hope Café marks an important milestone in furthering SCORE's work in enhancing the employability of offenders," said Mr Stanley Tang, Chief Executive Officer, SCORE. "The alignment of training to the WSQ framework will better prepare the offenders for careers in Hospitality and F&B industries upon release. With this, we hope more employers from these industries will consider hiring offenders as part of their workforce." he added.

The opening ceremony of Hope Café was graced by Guest-of-Honour Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Manpower.