Memorandum of Understanding Between Yellow Ribbon Singapore and Nanyang Polytechnic’s Asian Culinary Institute to Boost Career Opportunities for Inmates and Ex-Offenders in the Food Services Industry

Published on 22 Nov 2023

SINGAPORE, 22 NOV 2023 – A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between Yellow Ribbon Singapore (YRSG) and Nanyang Polytechnic’s Asian Culinary Institute (NYP-ACI) today, to enhance employability and employment opportunities for inmates and ex-offenders in the food services industry.


The MOU was signed by YRSG’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr Sunny Lee and NYP’s Principal and CEO, Mr Russell Chan and witnessed by YRSG’s Chairman, Mr Phillip Tan Eng Seong and NYP’s Chairman, Mr Tan Tong Hai. Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth & Trade and Industry, Ms Low Yen Ling was the Guest-of-Honour for the ceremony and delivered an opening address.


The collaboration with NYP-ACI is an expansion of YRSG’s TAP (Train and Place) & Grow initiative, where YRSG partners employers, training institutions and community partners to set up training academies in prison. This enables inmates to undergo industry-specific training and develop the requisite skills during incarceration. When released, ex-offenders can then pursue careers in the relevant industry.


NYP-ACI currently conducts Food and Beverage (F&B) training in Changi Prison Complex, where participating inmates can attain various certifications, such as the Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) Higher Certificate in Food Services (Culinary Arts). Beyond providing inmates with industry-specific training in prison, this initiative offers a ‘through-train’ pathway that allows released inmates to continue their training and deepen their skills in the community. The inaugural 2.5-month work-study programme, leading to the WSQ Advanced Certificate in Food Services (Culinary Arts), commenced in September 2023 with seven trainees. Upon completion, trainees may consider pursuing the Diploma in Food Services (Culinary Arts).


About 700 inmates are expected to benefit annually from the training programmes offered by NYP-ACI, both in prison and in the community. Upon their release, graduates from these courses may pursue careers in the food services industry. YRSG will continue to work closely with NYP-ACI and its network of employer partners, through career fairs and job placement services, to enhance employment prospects for inmates and ex-offenders seeking to enter the food services industry. YRSG will also provide career retention support to ex-offenders as they re-join the workforce and transit to a new work environment.


“Daniel”, who is one of the seven trainees enrolled in the programme, said: “I have always been passionate about culinary arts and aspire to open my own hawker stall. Prior to my release, when YRSG offered me the opportunity to take the WSQ Advanced Certificate in Food Services (Culinary Arts) course in the community, I said yes immediately. The course has been very interesting so far, and everyone at ACI has been very supportive. The trainers impart their experience and culinary knowledge to us. After this course, I hope to pursue my dreams of setting up a hawker stall to sell Western fusion food with a Malay twist.”


Mr Sunny Lee, CEO of YRSG, said: “Today’s MOU signing is a significant milestone in our TAP & Grow journey to transform the lives of inmates and ex-offenders. We are excited about this collaboration with NYP-ACI, which signifies our firm commitment to empower inmates and ex-offenders, and provide them with essential skills to succeed in their careers. With the necessary support and guidance, ex-offenders can become contributing members of society. We encourage all employers to embrace inclusive hiring and offer career opportunities to ex-offenders. Be it through hiring, mentorship, sharing industry insights, or exploring potential collaborations, together, we can create a positive impact.”


Mr Russell Chan, Principal and CEO of NYP, said: “Our partnership with YRSG underscores a shared belief in the transformative power of education and real-world skills development. Through our practical and hands-on learning approach, we ensure that every participant is equipped and ready not just for work, but also to contribute, grow and regain their place in society with dignity. NYP-ACI will bring its extensive expertise in the food services industry to enhance this initiative, ensuring that the training provided is comprehensive and aligned with industry standards and expectations.”