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Sdg Goal 8With sustainable development and social mission at the core, co-operatives in Singapore play a relevant and important role in promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth and decent work for all (Sustainable Development Goal 8). They help increase inclusion of marginalised groups in the Singapore workforce.

The Industrial & Services Co-operative Society Limited (ISCOS), a social Co-operative for ex-offenders for example has been extending friendship and support to ex-offenders and their families so that they can lead meaningful and productive lives since 1989. Its programmes and services are geared towards enhancing the skills level of its beneficiaries, connecting them with supportive employers, and providing social support. It has the Skills Assistance Subsidy Scheme (SASS) in place to provide training subsidies to their beneficiaries who are keen to upgrade their skills from time to time. Since its introduction in 2011, SASS has benefitted over 300 beneficiaries in total.

Another example is Singapore Professionals’ and Executives’ Co-operative (SPEC), a co-operative founded in 2000 by the Singapore Human Resources Institute (SHRI) to enhance employment and employability of professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs). Set up in response to the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s, SPEC aims to help retrenched local PMETs gain meaningful employment again. It offers group medical and protection insurance, corporate outplacement services, talent-matching services, career conversion assistance, counselling, coaching and social-networking opportunities to help displaced PMETs to successfully re-join the workforce.

Seacare Co-operative Limited generates sustainable growth in its human resource business by exclusively hiring retrenched professionals, retirees and back-to work mothers for temporary and contract positions in schools, laboratories and offices. It equips them with professional skills and knowledge to meet the needs of the marketplace while offering them the opportunity to acclimatise to the pace of today’s work environment.

Other co-operatives like Premier Security Co-operative Limited and Co-operative of Singapore Civil Defence Force Employees Limited leverage the experience and knowledge of retired uniformed officers by employing them to provide value-added services like security, fire-fighting, building safety and ambulance services. NTUC Foodfare on the other hand champions the hiring of older employees. This ensure that the elderly can stay active after their retirement and continue to lead a fulfilling life.


SDG Goals
Photo Courtesy: United Nations

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