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CDE To Pilot Eldercare Training For Migrant Domestic Workers

Model ID: f80cf058-e336-48c0-afc0-d33189becc87 Sitecore Context Id: f80cf058-e336-48c0-afc0-d33189becc87;
02 Jun 2024
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Model ID: f80cf058-e336-48c0-afc0-d33189becc87 Sitecore Context Id: f80cf058-e336-48c0-afc0-d33189becc87;

- Migrant domestic workers to benefit from new eldercare training programme
arising from CDE’s MOU with Healthcare Academy -

During the annual National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) May Day Domestic Employees Celebration, the Centre for Domestic Employees (CDE) expressed its appreciation to migrant domestic workers (MDWs) for their invaluable contributions towards supporting numerous families, particularly those in elderly households, in Singapore. The celebratory event organised by NTUC and CDE, was held at NTUC Centre and attended by some 1,000 MDWs, employers, union leaders and guests. Guest-of-Honour for the event, NTUC Deputy Secretary-General Cham Hui Fong, greeted them and delivered the opening address. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was also signed between CDE and Healthcare Academy to develop a pilot programme on eldercare training for MDWs.

According to the Ministry of Manpower, 27 per cent of today’s resident labour force are workers aged 55 years old and above1 . Given Singapore's aging population, there is a growing demand for MDWs with competent caregiving skills, underscoring their vital role in supporting elderly Singaporeans. In a recent MDW and employer engagement survey2 conducted by CDE from April to May 2024, it found that there is a shared interest in eldercare training between MDWs and their employers (Refer to Annex A, Chart 1 and 2).

NTUC Deputy Secretary-General Cham Hui Fong said, “I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to our MDWs for all that they do in taking care of our loved ones. NTUC will continue to take care of 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."

Piloting Eldercare Training for MDWs

To enhance support for MDWs in their caregiving responsibilities for families with elderly dependents, CDE will work with the Healthcare Academy, which is a collaboration among Healthcare Services Employees’ Union (HSEU), NTUC LearningHub (NTUC LHUB) and NTUC’s e2i (Employment and Employability Institute) to pilot an eldercare training programme for MDWs. The MOU was signed today among Michael Lim, Director of NTUC Migrant Workers Segment; K Thanaletchimi, President of HSEU; Jeremy Ong, CEO of NTUC LHUB; and Gary Goh, Deputy CEO of NTUC’s e2i.

The pilot eldercare training programme would equip MDWs with the necessary knowledge to effectively support the elderly. The pilot programme, presented in bite-sized modules, will be completed over two days; covering 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 aspects on how to help MDWs maintain their physical and emotional well-being. The training programme will be conducted in the MDWs’ native languages like Burmese and Bahasa Indonesia, to ensure that they can better understand and relate to the content.

“The Healthcare Services Employees' Union (HSEU) fully agrees with the refreshed workers’ compact by NTUC, in which it was recommended that workers be provided more support to manage work and caregiving, especially for elderly family members3. HSEU has also been championing our Migrant Domestic Workers (MDWs) to be well equipped with basic caregiving skills and competency, to provide better care for our seniors at home. We are very glad to partner Centre for Domestic Employees (CDE) who has that outreach to MDWs and Healthcare Academy (HCA) thatcurates the relevant customised courses for the MDWs. We wish to make this pilot a success so that this training can be extended to all MDWs and benefits all households with seniors”, said K Thanaletchimi, President, Healthcare Services Employees’ Union; and President of National Trades Union Congress.

Strengthening English Language Proficiency for MDWs

The same engagement survey by CDE also found that English language proficiency is another shared area of interest between MDWs and employers. Effective communication is a crucial aspect of a thriving employer-employee relationship. As English serves as the primary language of communication, proficiency in the language not only boosts the MDWs’ confidence levels but also enhances their productivity and fosters better understanding with employers. In demonstrating CDE’s unwavering commitment to empowering the MDW community, CDE has been working with partners and MDW volunteers to conduct English language lessons for Burmese and Indonesian MDWs since 2023.

Looking ahead, CDE aims to extend English language classes to MDWs from other communities. In addition to English language, CDE is also exploring providing other dialect classes to MDWs. This initiative reflects CDE’s dedication to fostering a supportive and inclusive environment for all MDWs, enabling them to thrive in their roles and contribute positively to the communities they serve.

Fostering Harmonious Employer-Employee Relationships

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 ten photographs were presented today for the final judging.

Michael Lim, Director of Migrant Workers Segment said, “May Day is an important reminder of the tireless dedication of our migrant domestic workers in Singapore. On this occasion, we honour their contributions and commit to furthering their personal development and upskilling opportunities through initiatives such as English language courses and relevant training programmes. We also emphasise the importance of self-care, ensuring that our MDWs have access to resources that support their well-being and mental health. Our MOU signing with Healthcare Academy today is a testament to how NTUC cares and is championing our MDWs' interests. Together, CDE remains steadfast in driving positive change and reinforcing our commitment to MDWs in Singapore”.


[1] Source: Ministry of Manpower, "Labour Force in Singapore 2023". Pg 6, Para 2.8

[2] Source: Migrant Domestic Workers and Employer Engagement Survey (April - May 2024), N=2545

[3] Source: NTUC, “Our Workers’ Compact”. Caregivers Section, Pg 57 - 67