The Central Singapore Community Development Council (CDC) yesterday launched a new initiative to help ease the way for residents who want to rejoin the workforce.

Called Learn. Earn. Work., the programme hopes to encourage unemployed and economically inactive residents from low-income households to "earn as they learn".

Central Singapore District Mayor Sam Tan said the programme would be particularly useful to housewives and early retirees who want to earn additional income for their families.

"Undergoing training with participating employers will enable them to gain confidence and learn skills in a real work environment, and even secure a job," he added.

Participants will undergo a training period with host companies for a minimum of 40 hours.

This will give them an opportunity to familiarise themselves with the different job scopes and working environments, before deciding whether to take on permanent positions.

The programme is open to unemployed Singaporeans and permanent residents with monthly household incomes of not more than $3,000.

Some 300 positions in 15 participating companies were up for grabs during the fair held at the Toa Payoh HDB Hub Atrium yesterday.

They included jobs in industries such as hospitality, food and beverage, manufacturing and retail.

Employers like Madam Annie Wong, a senior manager of human resource at SMRT Corporation, said the programme allows employers and potential employees to gain a better understanding of each other before forming a partnership.

"The programme lets them see what the job is like and from there we can assess whether they are suitable for it," said Madam Wong.

Residents who sign up for the programme will receive a transport grant and be paid $4.50 an hour during their training period.

They will also receive a training completion grant, as well as a retention grant of $400, if they remain employed in the same sector for at least three consecutive months, following the completion of the training.

Residents at the fair, such as Mr Ricky Tay, said the training would provide them the chance to "test" out a job before going into it full swing.

Mr Tay, 39, who has worked on an ad hoc basis for several years, said he once had a part-time job at an events company where he had "no idea what was going on".

"I took up the job but didn't know what it was about or how to serve customers without someone guiding me," said Mr Tan, who is single and lives with his brother in a two-room flat in Commonwealth. "At least now I can see whether the job is really suitable for me or not. If it isn't, then I can just try again."

Central CDC said about 100 residents signed up for jobs offered at the fair yesterday.