1. Background and Rational for choice of 1st area.
Risk of companies employing ex-convicts through the Yellow Ribbon Project. (SPRING.gov.sg) Ex-convicts are trained in courses such as Nitec certification in electronics, ISC in food preparation, ISC in electrical wiring, and NSRS in cleaning skills. They also gain work experience in Singapore Corporation Of Rehabilitative Enterprises (SCORE) industries (eg. Bakery, laundry services, multimedia etc) to remain relevant in the workforce.
This benefits employers as these workers are pre-trained and able to start work immediately.
It is important to promote the employment of disabled as Singapore has a small population, hence need to maximize human resource. Also, companies need to address prevailing skills shortages and problems in filling job vacancies in tight labour markets. Besides this, due to the fact that Singapore is dependent on foreign workers, ex-convicts can be employed instead, with a lower pay, to reduce their cost of production.
Need for ex-convicts to be included in society and for them to be able to sustain themselves without living off others. Thus they will no longer be a burden to society, including companies.
Ruth and Bryan to find information that explains:
(i) risk taken
(ii) Its necessity
Rayna and YiKai to gather statistics/evidence/ survey results to:
(i) Provide evidence to show why risk is worth taking
(ii) Substantiate the reasons for importance to take risk
2. Details of what happened or was done
Companies interested in employing ex-convicts register an account to access the Singapore Corporation Rehabilitative Enterprises online job portal. Companies then employ ex-convicts, giving priority to those who participated in rehabilitative and aftercare programmes, provided by the Yellow Ribbon Project. Last year, a record 2,459 companies pledged to give former convicts a second chance – up 13 per cent from the 2,118 registered with the Score in 2009.
Logwin Air + Ocean Singapore pte ltd (Straits Times 14/2/11)
Logwin Air + Ocean Singapore, an international logistics company, has hired 3 ex-convicts since 2008.
Among these is Mr Abdul Rahim Daud, who was jailed for vehicle theft in 2009. He currently works as an assistant for the company, ensuring that the company does not accidentally export more goods than necessary, saving it money.
His boss, managing director Jimmy Ler, says that he is an efficient worker and he is good at what he does.
(+)Employed ex-convicts were already trained, so no need to allocate resources to training, save time and money.
(+)They work hard as they know the 2nd chance is precious
(-)Employees need to go for follow-up sessions with the Singapore After-Care Association (SACA) and Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association (SANA), takes up time.
(-)Some employees may revert to old ways, threat to company
(-)May tarnish company’s reputation as public do not accept criminals, generally.
Printed/ internet sources
Rayna and Yikai to refer to website and others for employment of ex-convicts programmes.
Ruth and Bryan to seek expert opinion about employment of ex-convicts programme.
Printed/ internet sources
Rayna refers to Yellow Ribbon website on write-up of collaborations
Rayna to write
Bryan to vet for spelling & grammer and to format document
Ruth to vet that substantiation is adequate and start writing Biblio
YiKai to vet for logic gaps
q Group has shown that 1st area is interesting and has significant lessons to learn from.
q Group has shown that an appropriate amount (not too much, not too little) of background information to 1st area is given.
3. Lessons learnt
1. The number of employers willing to hire ex-convict has jumped by nearly a third.
2. Important role families play in the rehabilitation of former prisoners. The Family Resource Centres set up in prisons are where counsellors run workshops in family, parenting and marriage for prisoners to prepare them for life outside jail. Helps them patch things up with family and reconnect with society without being a burden because they are able to support and sustain themselves with a job.
3. Rehabilitative and aftercare programmes and skills training helps to ensure that the ex-convicts will be able to help the company increase productivity and not make losses.
Printed & Internet sources
Ruth and YiKai to find information on:
(i) effect of hiring ex-convicts on society
(ii) ways government and public can help
Rayna and Bryan to gather statistics/evidence/ survey results to:
(i) provide evidence to show positive welfare effect
(ii) substantiate the reasons for employing ex-convicts who participated in the rehabilitative and aftercare programmes.
q Specific impacts/approaches have been clearly identified.
q Appropriate and relevant lessons learnt have been drawn out from each impact/approaches.
4. Background and rational for choice of 2nd area.
Successful social entrepreneur wants to contribute and return back to the society. They lead other companies to employ disabled to build an inclusive society. Joan Bowen is conferred the Notable New Employer Award. The cafe and culinary centre was started in August 2009 to teach essential life-long skills to mildly intellectually handicapped young adults. ‘The cafe operates as a social enterprise with the ultimate aim of equipping youths with special needs with a range of culinary skills so that they are able to make their mark as individuals and contribute as active members of society,’ says Jeanne Seah-Khong, managing director of Joan Bowen. Joan Bowen, founded by Ms Seah and her husband Khong Yoon Kay, both 55, currently has 13 PWDs on its payroll. They work as cooks, dishwashers and service attendants. To enable the PWDs to learn better, Joan Bowen provides tools like visual aids to help them overcome their handicaps in reading. Work in the cafe is structured for PWDs to work smoothly.
‘Through systematic training, the PWDs became so proficient in operating the point-of-sale machines, coffee machines and credit-card terminals that they were even able to tell when the machines were due for servicing,’ Ms Seah adds.
Other employers employ disabled because of the following reasons:
At the counter in the Toa Payoh KFC restaurant, a crew member taps on his ‘I am deaf’ badge and, without fuss, takes your order with a big smile. This shows that hiring people with disabilities have benefits as it is believed
that many have to work very hard to be
accepted into the workforce and will, therefore,
be less likely to leave and hence, are motivated and determined to meet employment challenges.
Lights, monitors and visual cues in the kitchen alert the hearing-impaired staff when food is ready to serve. A shift manager is on duty – he can’t hear you either. This shows that companies will benefit as many people with disabilities are accustomed to finding alternative ways of doing things. This innovative thinking can carry over into the workplace. Thus, the cost of hiring disabled workers is not much higher than that of ordinary workers.
Despite its ‘handicap’, the Toa Payoh outlet has been operating since 2003. Its success has spawned two other deaf-operated KFC branches, in Fuchun Community Centre and Jurong West Community Centre.
Apart from the 300 deaf crew on its payroll, KFC also opens its doors to people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder as well as the intellectually, physically and visually handicapped. Their ages range from 16 to 56. Some have been with KFC for as long as 19 years. Thus, ensures that human power shortage can be avoided as many people with disabilities tend to remain with the same employer for many years.
KFC has not gone unnoticed as a PWD-friendly boss. It was appointed Ambassador for the Deaf in 2004 and awarded the President’s Social Service Award in 2006. Thus, hiring disabled do not result in a decrease in business for companies but instead increase their business.
KFC did not experience a decrease in the number of consumers. This shows that hiring disabled will not affect the business of the companies as customers will often be attracted to or remain loyal with a company that they feel is being inclusive.
Statistics show that people with disabilities use less sick leave than non-disabled employees. (Journal of occupational Accidents-1984). Thus, hiring disabled has benefits as they are more productive
While the 50 PWDs Han’s employs are small in number compared with those on KFC’s payroll, they make up almost 10 per cent of its staff. The PWDs are treated as part of Han’s ‘big family’. ‘We address the PWDs as colleagues and don’t see them as a burden,’ says Han’s deputy general manager Gan Yee Chin. Five others also got a special mention for ‘particular exemplary qualities in hiring PWDs’ – Joan Bowen, Eureka Call Centre Systems, Pizza Hut Singapore, Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre and Fong Shen Mould and Precision Engineering.
As a whole, hiring disabled has more advantages than disadvantages as employers have found that most have not only met but exceeded exceptions- In fact, They have gone on to become very productive and loyal Employees.
Need to employ disabled people
1. Diversity in the workplace – employing disabled people helps the the team to be more diverse, which in turn ups the level of creativity and innovation. Furthermore, they will be drawing from a wider talent pool and there are disabled people who have skills, knowledge and expertise to contribute to the company/society.
Louis Harry Survey showed that 88% of people working with a disabled colleague say that this experience is enriching, likely to modify their opinion of disabled people and to give a new sense of value to their job (60%).
2. Tight labour market – limited human resources, companies have to make full use of expertise available, and employing disabled people helps them to boost manpower.
Louis Harry Survey showed that 80% of people employing or working with disabled workers think that they are as productive as any other employee.
3. Contribute back to society – employing disabled people will enable them to earn a steady income to support themselves or their families, also helping to boost their confidence when interacting with other able-bodied individuals. Moreover, the company will earn the respect and admiration of others because of their humanity, they are willing to employ disabled people and are not focused solely on making money.
Louis Harry Survey showed that 75% of people working with a disabled colleague think that the recruitment of disabled workers in their firm gives a positive image and influences them favourably in the perception of their employer.
Rayna and Bryan to design survey for companies, which employed disabled, to gather statistics.
Ruth and YiKai to interview KFC for statistics.
q Group has shown that 2nd area is interesting and has significant impact.
q Group has shown that an appropriate amount (not too much, not too little) of background information to 2nd area is given.
5. Strategies that can be developed from lessons learnt in (3) to apply to 2nd area.
· Strategy 1: ESPERANZA(Hope)
Features of the website:
The organizer is the Asian Women’s Welfare Association. The main objective of setting up the ESPERAZA is to provide a convenient platform for job matching. The website will be managed by AWWA, which the bridge between companies and disabled. AWWA assist disabled in going onto the website to look for more job opportunities, especially, people who are blind. The website is specially formatted to make it easier for the disabled (cannot sit or look at the computer screen for too long) as the job are categorized according to type of disabilities (e.g. deaf) and industries (e.g. handicraft). To ensure that companies can save money on providing skills training and disabled job opportunities to disabled according to their last talents/experiences and skills learnt previously in AWWA. Disabled visit website, know about different job opportunities and decides on interested and relevant job. AWWA alert disabled that once clicked on `confirm’ button, disabled will be an official employee of company, cannot black out, otherwise they will have a black record and remain unemployed for lifetime.
Solution to reduce risk:
One of the main reasons why companies hesitate hiring the disabled is cause they are unsure whether the disabled are able to fully commit themselves to the jobs. This includes resigning after a short term and so on. With the features like ‘confirm’ button, disabled people will take their job interviews into careful consideration. This is turn reduces the risk that the companies face when hiring the disabled.
Ways to encourage companies to participate in the job search portal:
Send volunteers to companies who are able to hire the disabled to conduct talks. With the talks, companies would be encouraged and ensured that the disabled are not inferior as compared to normal people in terms of efficiency and attitude wise.
Lessons learnt from other job search portals
Yellow ribbon project: account registration
An account is needed for both the employee and the employer. This would prevent anyone from playing prank on such websites, causing inconvenience. Thus, the website would prove to be more efficient and the parties would not have to be afraid of being involved in scam cases.
Australian job search portal:
Most of the time, it is the employer who comes up with the requirements and the employee who have to search. With the uploading of resumes onto the website, employees are also able to have a chance of getting a job even when they are not using a computer as employers would be able to read the resumes online and decide whether they want to hire the disabled people or not. Thus, the application of allowing the disabled people to upload their resumes online would allow a higher efficiency as it would not only be a one sided issue where only the disabled people are searching for a job but also companies to search for workers.
· Strategy 2: Rainbow Ribbon Project
The Rainbow Ribbon Project is initiated to convince employers that employing disabled has more benefits than disadvantages and also as a supporting role to ensure that companies faces minimum problems with the employment of disabled.
The objectives of the Rainbow Ribbon Project can be summarized in R2P:
1. Realizing potential of disabled people to ensure that employers will be able to fill up skills gaps in companies.
2. Reducing prejudice of society towards disabled to ensure that the number of consumers of companies employing disabled will not decrease and that companies will not make any losses.
3. Provide trust of employers in disabled employees to ensure that companies will make sure that their disabled employees can compete and flourish on equal terms in the workplace, maximising the use of human resource and minimising losses for the companies itself.
Actions to take:
To support the companies, an organization can be set-up. To minimize the extra cost needed to be paid by the companies to employ disabled, the organization will provide assistance to the disabled.
Disabled will be attached to a volunteer mentor to offer guidance through taken through the entire project, which starts from helping disabled in getting a suitable job to adapting and settling down in a comfortable job. Disabled will be taken through the process of examining what they have to offer an employer and exploring careers, offered tips on finding a job, getting hired, and making that job work for them, They will be assisted to build their own resume online in RainbowCareerConnect and also link to resources for employment listings.
With all these in place, companies do not have to worry and pay extra attention to the disabled employees as their welfare is taken care of, by the organization.
1. Rainbow Day
The project reduces the risk of companies employing disabled as it increases the confidence of companies towards disabled.
Prior to this day, companies will partner with groups of polytechnic students (School of Design and technology) and share with students areas in companies where disabled can help. After that, Students will design disabled-friendly aids base on needs of companies (e.g. light bulbs used in kitchen as indicators instead of using buzzers, very illustrative menu cards, and simple sign language posters).
The Rainbow Day is for companies to witness potential of disabled through try-out of machines.
On the actual day, The Coffee Bean shares success in employing disabled to manufacture BURLAP bags to convince companies the abilities of disabled.
Disabled people will then visit the booths, where the Polytechnic student showcases aids designed at different booths, to gain hands-on experience.
Companies witness what disabled can do when disabled try-out the aids and discover disabled suitable for employment before giving job application forms.
Companies provide choice of short-term (e.g. manufacture period) and long-term employment, according to what disabled can do.
With this special day in place, companies will not have to provide extra training for the disabled, helping them save cost and after employing them as they employ only disabled with skills they need. Furthermore, this day provides assurance to the companies as they are very sure that the disabled they employ will be of help to the companies, helping it to increase its productivity.
2. Run! for the Rainbow
Companies’ employers will be the participants invited for the competition. Instead of running as a normal people, employers will be running as disabled.
Employers will be asked to use or put on special items (e.g. blindfold, wheelchair) as disabled (e.g. blind, deaf, wheelchair-bound), putting themselves in the shoes’ of disabled people and gain a deeper understanding of the difficulties faced by them.
To win the competition, the employers will push themselves hard and put in their best effort to win the competition.
Hence, through this competition, companies will be assured of the commitment that disabled employees will put in as they understand how much effort the disabled will put in to ensure that he or she will not be sacked. Thus, companies will benefit as its productivity increases.
3. Rainbow award
To recognize values and talents disabled bring to work place.
Other than just receiving an award title, disabled will be given a chance to bring in friends, who are also limited by disabilities and are unable to get a job. This will help to increase the overall employment of disabled in the society. To ensure the companies will benefit, the awardees will be the job trainers for the new employees they recommended and must ensure that the new employees are of help to the companies. Thus, with this award, the productivity of the companies will only continue to increase as its manpower will definitely increase but not decrease.
Ruth and YiKai to request an interview with AWWA in-charge.
Bryan refer to AWWA website on how organization works.
Rayna find out the different types of jobs suitable.
Rayna, YiKai conduct survey for companies interested:
-To get evidence that companies need to know potential of disabled before taking the risk to employ
YiKai and Ruth research on manufacturers
Rayna and Bryan to request collaboration between DPA and polytechnics
Ruth and Bryan contact person-in-charge of The BURLAP bag to gather evidence of its success
q The suggested strategy is creative.
q The suggested management strategy is appropriate and effective for the target audience.
q The suggested management strategy is feasible and manageable.
q There is a clear link between the lessons learnt from 1st area and the suggested proposal
q Details of the strategy are clearly presented.
q There is clear and honest evaluation of the strategy.
Any other comments / considerations?
There may be a lack of statistics and evidence from the website and hence we need to carry out surveys.
We might not be able to get the interviews done in which case we might have to look at another location or organization that is willing to communicate with us.
Economically minded organizations may not be willing to work with us as little direct benefits, then need to request help from other non-profit organizations
q The group is aware of the potential difficulties they may encounter.
q The project is manageable.