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Disabled showcase their F&B abilities at Company of Good dinner

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Mr Heng (centre) yesterday announced the collaboration between Samsui Supplies and StanChart in training persons with disabilities for jobs in the F&B sector.

Singapore

SPRING rolls and baked cajun chicken roulade were some dishes - prepared by persons with disabilities (PWDs) - served at the Company of Good Fellowship networking dinner held on Wednesday at the Enabling Village, a community space at Lengkok Bahru.

At the event organised by National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC), Samsui Supplies & Services Pte Ltd and Standard Chartered Bank Singapore announced a partnership with SG Enable to provide a "through-train" training and employment programme for PWDs. The collaboration was announced by guest of honour, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat.

Standard Chartered Bank contributed S$160,000 to the project, and Samsui Supplies will tap into its food and beverage (F&B) experience to train this group of people. The kitchen in Enabling Village is equipped with facilities that mirror industrial kitchens in a commercial setting, and the equipment and processes have been adapted to meet the needs of the users.

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The group will be given training and placed in jobs offered by a partner network of F&B operators, which include Soup Restaurant.

Patrick Lee, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Singapore, said: "We had known Samsui Supplies back in 2015, and met again at NVPC Company of Good Fellowship and found ways to leverage our resources and strengths for the community. As with all modern societies, issues of inequality and an ageing population are real, and there are many ways to address this . . . In the context of Project Through-Train, it is about setting PWDs up for success and creating employment."

Mr Lee added that five out of every 100 PWDs are employed in Singapore; and with the country's ageing population and manpower shortage, this group of people could be a source of untapped manpower for our economy.

Ang Kian Peng, director of Samsui Supplies, concurred, adding: "We see potential in the PWD segment with the right training. They are a valuable source of labour that the companies can develop . . . It takes a village to create an ecosystem of having a suitable talent pipeline, supporting them through the training process, and transiting them into a new job environment."

More support, such as on-site counselling, will be provided with the aim of increasing the success rate of training completion.

Chairman of NVPC Mildred Tan said: "As organisations strive to meet their business goals and objectives and be profitable, they must not overlook the need to balance doing well with doing good. Rather than regard corporate philanthropy as citizenship, businesses should instead embrace corporate social responsibility and employ these initiatives throughout the firm's operations."

Mr Heng said: "This new initiative will train persons with disabilities for jobs in the F&B sector . . . There is certainly room for our companies to do much more. Based on the 2017 NVPC Corporate Giving Survey, only 52 per cent of companies are involved in corporate giving. But I am heartened to know that another 31 per cent said that they are keen to start. This is a good sign."

He added: "Company of Good is an example of how we can build our future Singapore together."