At the launch of 'Jobs on Wheels for U' yesterday were (from left) Mr Tay, Nominated MP Mary Liew and Ms Cham, seen here with the minivan which will make its rounds in housing estates from next month. -- PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
A PINK-AND-WHITE minivan will make its rounds among housing estates from next month - and wherever it parks, a day-long job fair aimed at women will spring up.
The 'Jobs on Wheels for U' van will offer at least 500 part-time and full-time jobs at each of its stops each week, with most of these positions located in that neighbourhood. The mobile job fair will start its rounds in the north-west.
Mr Patrick Tay, an MP for Nee Soon GRC, in whose ward 'Jobs on Wheels for U' was launched yesterday, said: 'We hope this will make it more convenient for residents to take up jobs.'
The project is run by the Women's Development Secretariat of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), which has helped more than 12,500 women enter or rejoin the workforce since 2007. There are 695,000 female Singaporeans and permanent residents, aged 15 and older, who are not yet in the workforce.
Mr Tay, who is also NTUC's director of professionals, managers and executives and legal services, said the labour movement hopes to see more employers offering women more flexible work arrangements, so they can work and also care for their families.
NTUC assistant secretary-general Cham Hui Fong, who was also at the event, said flexibility goes beyond offering part-time hours.
Urging bosses and colleagues to be understanding of a mother in their midst who needs time off to care for her family, she said: 'What we also need is flexibility in mindsets.'
The 'Jobs on Wheels for U' initiative was launched at a job fair - also targeted at women - at Nee Soon East Community Centre. Called 'Back2Work with U', the fair had 1,000 jobs from 11 employers on offer.
One of the more than 700 job seekers there yesterday was Ms Christina Arthur, 62, who left her job as a hospital clerk in 2000 to care for her father. He died last year, and she now wants to return to work. 'I feel that I can still work, and I can give my service to the health-care industry,' she said.
Jobs on offer yesterday ranged from hospital clerks and childcare teachers to security officers and port-crane operators.
Though port operations may sound like a man's field, there are women keen on jobs in this area, said PSA Corporation senior human resources executive Derek Teo.
And while the Nee Soon job fair and the minivan cater to women, neither will turn away men who want jobs. 'We'd certainly welcome them on board,' said Ms Cham.