Mr Patrick Tay, Assistant Secretary-General of NTUC,
Mr Seah Kian Peng, Deputy Chairman of FairPrice Group & Chairman of FairPrice Foundation,
Mr Henry Chu, CEO of Food Services, FairPrice Group,
Mr Phillip Tan, Chairman of Yellow Ribbon Singapore,
Mr Thomas Pek, Chairman of Yellow Ribbon Industries,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. Good morning. It is my pleasure to be here to witness the MOU signing between Yellow Ribbon Singapore and FairPrice Group today.
2. Yellow Ribbon Singapore plays a key role in leading and supporting the successful reintegration of ex-offenders into our society. The organisation prepares inmates to re-join the workforce upon release by providing skills training, job placement and career coaching services.
a. I am heartened to learn that under their tireless efforts since 1976, more than 200,000 inmates have been trained, and more than 100,000 ex-offenders secured jobs.
3. This encouraging achievement is the result of the close collaborations Yellow Ribbon Singapore has forged with its many partners. Today we celebrate the signing of the MOU between Yellow Ribbon Singapore and Fairprice Group which will heighten their partnership. This is an example of how Yellow Ribbon is working with compassionate and far-sighted organisations to make a difference in the lives of many ex-inmates and their families. I am glad that Yellow Ribbon and the FairPrice Group are taking their partnership further by committing to
a. Deepen their joint efforts to enhance employability of inmates and ex-offenders; and
b. Provide community support for ex-offenders and their families to help them reintegrate into society and the workforce.
4. Let me share how.
Enhancing Employability for Inmates and Ex-Offenders.
5. First, on enhancing employability. Yellow Ribbon Singapore and the FairPrice Group will work together to provide inmates and ex-offenders with sector-specific skills training and career opportunities in sectors such as Food Services, Logistics and Retail.
6. They will also offer ex-offenders career progression pathways and support supervisors in creating a conducive and accepting workplace environment for ex-offenders to thrive in.
7. Through these efforts, we hope more ex-offenders will be gainfully employed with opportunities to progress in their jobs, discover their talents and fulfill their potential. This will increase their chances of successful re-integration and reduce the rate of recidivism or relapse into crime.
Providing Community Support for Ex-Offenders and their Families.
8. Second, on providing community support. The FairPrice Foundation, which was launched by NTUC FairPrice in 2008, is committing $200,000 to support skills upgrading and related initiatives for ex-offenders and their families. This will come in the form of additional training subsidies for ex-offenders keen to upskill, and a one-year NTUC Union Membership for the ex-inmates and their families.
Creating Second Chances and Building a Better Society.
9. Even before the MOU is officially signed today, Yellow Ribbon Singapore and FairPrice have already started working together to facilitate career opportunities and workplace support for ex-offenders. One of the early fruits of the collaboration is ex-drug offender, whom I will refer to as “James”.
a. “James” had gone to prison for drug-related offences. During his time there, he went through several rehabilitation programmes and was keen to work in the retail sector after serving his sentence. Before his release in February this year, he applied for the position of a retail assistant through Yellow Ribbon and was successfully hired by FairPrice.
b. I am glad that “James” has started his reintegration journey. Yellow Ribbon’s employment support for him helps to ensure supportive co-workers and supervisors through the adoption of supportive work practices by employers, with regular check-ins to review and conduct career planning. The workplace inclusion efforts, such as an induction programme for smooth onboarding as well as engagements with internal staff stakeholders, from FairPrice also plays a critical part to help him stay on track.
c. In the near future, the funds from FairPrice Foundation will give another step up for motivated ex-offenders like “James” to upskill, grow and continue pursuing their career aspirations. We wish “James” the very best in his reintegration journey.
10. Today, Yellow Ribbon Singapore has more than 6,000 partner employers involved in the employment of ex-offenders. Thank you for your support, which is critical for their reintegration. I hope more like-minded employers and organisations will step forward to work with Yellow Ribbon Singapore to offer inclusive hiring and create second chances for deserving ex-offenders.
11. Congratulations, Yellow Ribbon Singapore and FairPrice Group on the signing of your MOU. We look forward to the positive impact this collaboration will create for many ex-offenders and their families. Together, we can foster inclusive and supportive workplaces which give second chances – for lives to restart afresh, with hope and a future.
12. Thank you.