The key objectives at its inception were two folds :
- to level up the skill sets of FDWs working in Singapore with core skills so that they can add-value to their work and thus benefit their employers and the local community as a whole; and
- to enhance their future employability through acquisition of specialised and professional skills sets.
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 :
- ramp up its training programmes by collaborating with more training providers and community clubs/centres to offer training courses;
- introduce a Helpline specifically for FDWs to advise them on their contractual rights, provide assistance to FDWs who are victimised, in trouble or in distress;
- implement a Befrienders’ Service to provide more social spaces for FDWs and collegial support for FDWs who are lonely or distressed;
- launch a monthly pro-bono legal service to offer advice and assistance;
- start a humanitarian assistance fund to help deserving FDWs who are in major financial difficulties.
- set up a club house to provide social, recreational and educational activities for FDWs.
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”.