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CDE and Healthcare Academy collaborate to assist migrant domestic workers in eldercare training

Healthcare Academy and CDE sign an agreement at NTUC’s May Day Domestic Employees Celebration.
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By Jaime Lee 02 Jun 2024
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The Centre for Domestic Employees (CDE) and the Healthcare Academy will collaborate to pilot an eldercare training programme for migrant domestic workers (MDWs).

This was formalised with an agreement signed on 2 June 2024 at the NTUC May Day Domestic Employees Celebration at the NTUC Centre.

The pilot eldercare training programme aims to equip MDWs with the necessary knowledge to support the elderly effectively.


The pilot programme, presented in bite-sized modules, will be completed over two days, and will cover topics such as interacting with the elderly, managing emergencies, preventing falls and engaging in activities and exercises.


The pilot programme will also include self-care to help MDWs maintain physical and emotional well-being.


The training programme will be conducted in the MDWs’ native languages, such as Burmese and Bahasa Indonesia, to ensure they better understand and relate to the content. 


NTUC Deputy Secretary-General Cham Hui Fong, the event’s guest of honour, said: “I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to our MDWs for all they do in caring for our loved ones.


“NTUC will continue to care for our MDWs and will do more to foster a harmonious employment relationship between MDWs and their employers.


“Together with CDE, we are taking action to collaborate with partners to provide additional relevant training and knowledge to more MDWs, including English literacy, to enhance their language proficiency."


NTUC Migrant Workers Segment Director Michael Lim, Healthcare Services Employees’ Union (HSEU) President K Thanaletchimi, NTUC LearningHub (NTUC LHUB) CEO Jeremy Ong, NTUC’s e2i (Employment and Employability Institute) Deputy CEO Gary Goh were present at the agreement signing.


The Healthcare Academy is a collaboration among HSEU, NTUC LHUB and NTUC’s e2i.


Deepening employer-employee relationships


Antonette Garlejo Minong, an MDW from the Philippines, believes that joining the eldercare initiative will strengthen her relationship with her employer, 92-year-old Oon Lay Keng.


“The eldercare initiative will help us to build a closer relationship with each other. I’m blessed to have her as my employer because she treats me well.


“The eldercare initiative will help us [MDWs] learn to handle or deal with stressful situations. We must learn to deal with it with more love, patience, and, most importantly, compassion.”


Some 27 per cent of today’s resident workers are over 55, according to the Manpower Ministry.


CDE said in a release that there is an increasing demand for MDWs with caregiving skills, given the nation's ageing population.


CDE also found in a recent survey conducted from April to May 2024 that MDWs and their employers have expressed the need for eldercare training.


Another training the MDWs are interested in was English Language proficiency, as English boosts productivity and fosters a better employer-employee understanding.


CDE added it has been working with partners to conduct English language classes among Burmese and Indonesian MDWs since 2023.


Celebrating through photography


This year’s celebrations saw some 1,000 MDWs, as well as employers and union leaders, celebrate the contributions of MDWs.


The NTUC May Day Domestic Employees Celebration also featured a photography competition themed "Harmony Through Our Lens", which invited MDWs to capture moments of harmony and mutual respect in their workplaces.


More than 60 submissions were received from MDWs, and the top 10 photographs were presented at the event for the final judging.


NTUC’s Migrant Workers Segment Director Michael Lim said: “On this occasion, we honour their [MDWs] contributions and commit to furthering their personal development and upskilling opportunities through initiatives such as English language courses and relevant training programmes.


“Our agreement signing with Healthcare Academy today shows how NTUC cares and champions MDWs’ interests. Together, CDE remains steadfast in driving positive change and reinforcing our commitment to MDWs in Singapore.”