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Community and Volunteer Engagement Executive, SPS
My company and job
I work for the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) and am currently an executive under the Community and Family Engagement (CFE) Branch. As part of my portfolio, I work closely with over 1,300 volunteers who conduct in-care and after-care programmes for inmates.
Prior to my current post at CFE, I started off as a Housing Unit Officer (HUO) in the Sembawang Drug Rehabilitation Centre back in 2008. As a HUO, I regularly interacted with inmates to find out more about how they are doing, and more importantly, how their loved ones are coping with their absence from home.
SPS needs the continuous support of families, volunteers and the community in the rehabilitation of offenders. Prison volunteers are certainly a special group of people who dedicate their time and energy to help offenders back on the right path. Their regular interaction with offenders also shows that the community is willing to give offenders a second chance.
Getting the job
I remembered being asked during the interview why I wanted to join SPS. I didn’t have a textbook answer like wanting to make a difference to someone’s life, or that it was my childhood dream or a calling. I simply told them that I enjoyed interacting with people, and went on to share life stories about interacting with others.
The best bits
True to what I shared during the interview, I enjoy interacting with offenders and volunteers as there is so much to learn from listening to their life stories.
Volunteers tell stories of hope and determination. They spend their weekends and free time engaging offenders through rehabilitation programmes. Many of them also follow up after former offenders are released, to guide them through the aftercare.
These stories keep me going, reminding me that we all have a role to play in helping the community.
Be prepared for
The work can be demanding, as it involves working with both offenders and the community. Nonetheless, the satisfaction comes when you see them on the streets with their families having a decent meal, or when someone walks up to you to say "thank you" for helping him change his life.
Applicants should have a passion for working with people. If you have the passion, working in this profession will be an enjoyable experience, and you’ll never get bored of it.