The Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Skills Training (FAST) was formed on 23 March 2005 as a society. It was registered under the Charities Act on 11 Dec 2007 and approved as an Institution of a Public Character on 1 December 2015.
Since April 2013, FAST, a charity supported by MOM, has expanded its role. Besides providing skills training, FAST now also provides social support to the FDWs working in Singapore. As such it has changed its name to the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training.
FAST works closely with many partners in providing social support and training for the FDWs. They include Ambassadors and staff from Embassies, Training Providers, Employment agencies, other NPOs and government agencies. The Embassies also strongly supports FAST events and activities by attending its events and in particular, the annual FDW Day.
The key objectives at its inception were two folds :
Since its inception, FAST has planned and organised many vocational skill courses and specialised and professional skill programmes. Every year, more than 20,000 training places are taken up by the FDWs. These courses included cooking, baking, pastry making, infant care, eldercare, foot reflexology, nursing care, computer skills, English, stress management, financial management and entrepreneurial skills. The training courses and programmes are made affordable through subsidies by FAST.
Besides achieving the two core objectives, the training courses also provide an opportunity for the FDWs to socialize with each other and the general public at large. Such interactions inevitably help to enhance their quality of life.
In 2012, the government announced the mandatory off-day policy for all FDWs working in Singapore. In essence, with effect from 1 January 2013, all new FDWs will be entitled to one off-day per week. This policy also applies to existing FDWs who renew their contracts with their employers.
In anticipation of huge numbers of FDWs having their one off-day per week, FAST took a decision to expand its role by taking on the following :
FAST will continue to expand its footprint in the provision of social support, training and humanitarian service. We will continue to engage relevant stakeholders and provide the needed intervention to serve the interest of the FDWs.
Besides the embassies, FAST also engages the Employment Agencies to have dialogue on issues of concerns of the FDWs and also to garner their commitment to support training, social events and humanitarian assistance offered by FAST. We will continue to engage more EAs for this cause.
FAST will also continue to work with other NGO partners to provide a holistic set of services to meet the needs of the FDWs because “many helping hands make light work”.