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Speech at Official Opening Ceremony of Mendaki Career Service Centre

Mr Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Manpower, Mendaki Sense Career Service Centre, 1 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh

Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources; Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs and Chairman of MENDAKI

Mr Othman Haron Eusofe, Chairman MENDAKI SENSE

Mr Zainul Abidin Rasheed, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Board of Directors, MENDAKI SENSE

Distinguished guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

Good afternoon 


  1. It gives me great pleasure to be here today to officiate the opening of MENDAKI SENSE’s headquarters which is also its second Career Service Centre1. This new centre operates as a one-stop centre where job seekers can conveniently seek information on employment as well as obtain the relevant skills training and career development opportunities.
  2. Today’s opening of the Mendaki Career Service Centre is a significant milestone in the Malay/Muslim Community’s continuous drive to promote life long learning as the most crucial element in enhancing a person’s employability, and strengthening his confidence and resilience.
  3. It is also timely. In the first quarter this year, total employment rose by 36,500. With the latest revised GDP forecast of 13-15% growth for 2010, we are seeing a tightening labour market with job opportunities in many sectors. There will be jobs in various sectors of the economy for rank-and-file workers as well as Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians (PMETs). Training will be key to ensure workers are equipped with the right skills to stay relevant in the fast changing landscape.

    The Road to the Present
  4. The air of optimism today brings much hope for Singaporeans but all these did not happen by chance. The Singapore economy is able to turn around quickly and robustly because of the strong collective efforts of the Government, employers, workers and community organisations. I am happy to note that MENDAKI SENSE has been an active partner in our efforts to help and prepare Singaporeans for the new opportunities.
  5. MENDAKI SENSE has played a significant role in helping to bring across the importance of continuous learning and education to the Malay/Muslim Community. It has worked to raise awareness of the various national schemes like SPUR and Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) in a way that is easily understood by the community. MENDAKI SENSE has garnered support by developing a dynamic network of partners including 24 mosques and community organizations, 50 employers and 32 training providers.
  6. It was by no means an easy effort, judging by the numerous public fairs, weekly talks, seminars and workshops that it helped to organise at mosques, community centres, companies, factories and shipyards, even during the fasting month of Ramadan. It also set up booths at shopping centres so that members of the community who were in need of a job could easily sign up for assistance.
  7. MENDAKI SENSE has built partnerships with other training providers and CET centres to offer nationally-recognised WSQ courses. It started to provide Employability Skills System (ESS) courses in 2005. It became an Approved Training Organisation and Early Adopter of WDA’s Community and Social Service framework. In 2009, MENDAKI SENSE became a CET Centre for Certified Service Professionals. To date, it has provided more than 60,000 training places across a wide range of sectors including tourism, logistics, pre-school and healthcare. I am pleased to note that since its inception in 2004, its good work has also led to 18,800 gaining jobs, including the long-term unemployed and women who needed additional support to return to the workforce.

    Successful Cases
  8. 45 year-old Mdm Azlina Bte Abdul Majid is one such case. She worked as a Beauty Advisor for 13 years. Last year, she felt that she needed to enhance her skills and approached MENDAKI SENSE to enroll into the Certificate in Marketing Course. With the certificate in hand, she became more confident in her new role as a Customer Service Officer in a department store. In the same year, she won a Gold Excellent Award from the Singapore Retail Association. Mdm Azlina has recently made advancement in her career to be a Senior Officer in Call Centre Operations with the Health Promotion Board. The course has boosted her confidence and opened doors to new opportunities as she continued her quest for more knowledge to help her excel and be more successful in her career.
  9. Another beneficiary is 24-year old Mr Muhammad Ismadi Bin Ismail. Equipped with only a secondary three education, Mr Ismadi had been in and out of contract work as a delivery assistant and a bell hop. In his bid to contribute more to his family, he came to MENDAKI SENSE and signed up for the Certified Service Professional course in June 2009. Upon returning to the classroom, he was inspired and continued to sign up for the ESS courses a month later. MENDAKI SENSE also extended help to Mr Ismadi in his job search. As a start, he took up a part-time job in Sentosa Leisure as an Attraction Host. He has recently been promoted to a full-time staff member and earns about 30% more than his earning in his previous job.

    The Challenges Ahead
  10. These success stories inspire us. While we celebrate these achievements, we cannot afford to relax and be complacent. We have to press on to prepare our workforce for the challenges ahead. The Government will continue to work with partners like MENDAKI SENSE to help the working population benefit from the various upgrading schemes available, including the Workfare Training Support (WTS) scheme launched recently. I am confident that MENDAKI SENSE will continue to introduce new programmes to help workers in the community to adapt and be ready to seize new opportunities and progress successfully.

  11. The Malay/Muslim workers who faced employment difficulties, like other Singaporeans, during the recession have faced them with the same determination and confidence. Such resilience has enabled us to overcome our challenges and brought us to where we are today. Today’s opening of this new Career Service Centre demonstrates MENDAKI SENSE’s resolve and confidence in dealing with the challenges ahead, and to promote life long learning and improve employability of the community.
  12. Finally, I would like to extend my heartiest congratulations to MENDAKI SENSE on achieving a new milestone, and I wish you the very best in your continued efforts, in helping the Malay/Muslim community.

1MENDAKI SENSE opened its first Career Service Centre at Woodlands Community Club in July 2009. This centre is still operational. Previously, MENDAKI SENSE operated from three locations - Wisma MENDAKI at Siglap and two branch facilities at Tanjong Katong Complex and Joo Chiat. MENDAKI SENSE has since consolidated these services at the new second Career Service Centre at Toa Payoh which also functions as its new head office.