Published: 01 April 2022
Chairman Yellow Ribbon Singapore (YRSG) Mr Phillip Tan,
Deputy Commissioner of Prisons Mr Terrence Goh,
Partners and Friends,
1. A very good afternoon. I am very happy to be able to join you at this inaugural YR Connects.
2. This will be a series of regular engagements that YRSG will be organising to update partners, listen to feedback and foster new partnerships to support our inmates and ex-offenders. This is important as we work together to give beyond second chances to our inmates and ex-offenders.
3. Through your continued support for the past two years, YRSG was able to do a few things:
(a) First, launch the second and third “TAP” (stands for Train and Place) & Grow initiatives for the Media and Logistics sector with Mediacorp and the Singapore Logistics Association;
(b) Second, increase the number of employers in YRSG’s database to about 5,600; and
(c) Third, implement virtual job interviews to assist about 2,900 inmates in 2021.
4. YRSG’s mission is to galvanise society to uplift ex-offenders through skills and career development, and to co-create opportunities with like-minded partners and ex-offenders for their successful reintegration and contribution back to society.
5. Every year, about 9,000 inmates are released from Prisons. Over the years, YRSG has assisted about 100,000 ex-offenders to secure jobs. Through the Yellow Ribbon Project, YRSG has also inspired the wider community to support and accept our ex-offenders.
6. For an ex-offender, being offered a job is the opportunity he or she needs, to rebuild his life and win back the love and trust of his family. We have seen many ex-offenders who were determined to change, and build successful lives after leaving prison.
7. Recently, the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) shared that the overall two-year recidivism rate for the 2019 release cohort dropped to 20%, and this is the lowest since 1992. This could not have been done without the strong support from the community and partners like yourselves. So, I thank you and please join me in giving a big round of applause.
Support for Employers
8. SPS and YRSG will continue to focus on preparing inmates to re-join the workforce and stay in the workforce. To stay relevant in this rapidly changing world, it is insufficient to just get a job upon release. Like the rest of us, ex-offenders would have to remain relevant by upgrading and learning continuously, in order to adapt and thrive in a competitive job market.
9. YRSG administers nationally-accredited skills training to inmates and ex-offenders both inside prison and in the community. This assures employers that inmates and ex-offenders have the relevant skills as other jobseekers. YRSG will further introduce a new Digital Literacy Masterplan this year, that aims to impart inmates with basic digital skills that can be applied in the workplace, including introductory computing skills and Microsoft Office.
10. Since 2020, YRSG has launched three TAP & Grow initiatives - in the Precision Engineering, Media and Logistics sectors. YRSG partners such industries and training institutions to level-up inmates’ skills in prison, and secure employment after their release. These initiatives will benefit about 650 inmates annually.
11. This year, YRSG will be launching TAP & Grow in the Food Services sector and will continue to look at other potential sectors.
12. YRSG’s efforts do not stop at job-matching. Ex-offenders may face challenges in transiting from prison to work environment. This is where YRSG provides job retention support by assigning a career coach to each ex-offender at work after their release. The career coaches will work closely with employers and supervisors on work-related issues and provide support.
Encouraging Stories of Ex-offenders
13. For the next segment of today’s programme, we have invited Mr Jabez Koh, Managing Director of Infinite Transports Pte Ltd, and two of his team members, Fairizal and Christine, to share their journey with us.
14. Infinite Transports has been working with YRSG since 2016 and has hired more than 30 ex-offenders to date. Besides offering employment opportunities, Jabez and his team have been supportive of the reintegration needs of ex-offenders, providing training and career progression opportunities for deserving employees.
15. Infinite Transports received the Beyond Second Chances award at the inaugural Yellow Ribbon Awards last year. In recognition of their support for ex-offenders, Infinite Transport also received the Minister for Home Affairs National Day Award for Home Team Partners last year. Congratulations.
16. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Christine on her recent promotion to Head of Admin at Infinite Transports. Through YRSG’s job placement service, Christine joined the company as an Admin Assistant in May 2020. With support from Jabez, colleagues and her YRSG career coach, and through her own determination, Christine performed well at work. She gained confidence and was able to reframe her life to become a better version of herself.
17. Christine is currently pursuing a Diploma in Accounting, and hopes to continue upskilling herself. I am happy to know that Infinite Transports is fully behind Christine. They have flexible work hours which allows her to attend classes. We wish her every success, and that her journey will inspire many others to persevere, take charge and rebuild their lives. Congratulations, Christine.
18. Society and employers play a critical role in supporting ex-offenders’ rehabilitation and reintegration. SPS and YRSG cannot do this alone. We are grateful to have like-minded partners like you, stepping forward to help uplift our inmates and ex-offenders, offering them the opportunity they need to rebuild and restart their lives.
19. We have built an eco-system that we will continue to strengthen. We will continue to build partnerships with you and the rest of society so that we not only can we give our inmates and ex-offenders beyond the second chances. We want to help them to rebuild their lives, and to enjoy their lives with their family and the bigger community. As you all shared earlier, employment and acceptance are aspects that can help our inmates and ex-offenders.
20. Once again, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all partners present this afternoon for the very strong support. Together, we can strive towards an inclusive society, a nation beyond second chances.
21. Thank you.