Having a Foreign Domestic Worker (FDW) is, for many expat families, one of the biggest upsides to living in Singapore. While some come to us already fabulously skilled, and can whip up a goats cheese soufflé without so much as glancing at a recipe, others need training to help them carry out their roles thoroughly.
This is where enrichment classes and courses come in handy, and Singapore has a huge variety to choose from, from cooking and baking, to sewing and first aid.
While some of the classes are held during the week, others are subsidised through charitable organisations and take place on the helper’s Sunday off. Sometimes, mums prefer to book their maids onto a weekday course, so they can enjoy a little space at home.
So, whether you’d like your FDW to be able to turn out a yummy batch of scones for morning tea, plan a knock-out dinner party or – more seriously – learn how to respond in a medical emergency, our guide will show you where to head for the best enrichment courses and classes in Singapore.
9 Norris Road #02-01, Little India, 208252
Well-known for its variety of courses, Expat Kitchen offers lessons for all abilities, from basic and intermediate to master classes where your helper will learn how to pull off a no-hitch dinner party. There are also focus courses – among those currently running are ‘Fussy Kids’, ‘Alfresco Dining’, and ‘Substantial Salads’, plus baking workshops (with awesome sessions called ‘Chocolate Therapy’) and the option to arrange private customised lessons in your own kitchen for everything else.
Small Cooks Big Meals
Little princess ordered a three-tiered, Frozen-style cake for her next birthday? One of the many courses on offer at Small Cooks Big Meals is Basic Cake Decorating, where your helper will perfect a buttercream icing and learn how to tint it for different effects and use nozzles to make patterns. Other classes include basic, intermediate and health conscious cooking, basic baking and a variety of one-day programmes such as ‘Mexican Meals’, ‘Indian Feast’ and ‘French Dinner Party’. Santé!
28B Dover Crescent #10-71, 134028
The Pantry Cookery School
Expat favourite The Pantry now offers special cooking classes for helpers. At just $50 a pop, you can sign your helper up to for the Gluten-free Menu (that’ll be rainbow salad, crustless quiche and gluten-free chocolate cake) or the Healthy Menu (rainbow salad, basil pesto pasta and Victoria sponge cake). Now if only they’d share the recipe for their scones with passion-fruit curd…
75 Loewen Road, 248844
Lotta’s Western Cooking Class
121 Lor K Telok Kurau
With a maximum of six participants, qualified chef Lotta Karlsson’s hands-on workshops focus on western cooking. There’s a basic and intermediate course aimed at helpers, and upon completion they’ll have covered food hygiene and presentation of meals, as well as a whole range of appetisers, mains and desserts.
Mother & Child
Branches at Tanglin Mall and Siglap Drive, East Coast
A series of three 2-hour classes, Mother & Child’s First Aid for Helpers covers the all-important CPR for babies and children as well as accident prevention, first aid and emergency procedures. One of the sessions also looks at kitchen hygiene and play and stimulation for tots. A book ‘First Aid Fast’ is included in the course price.
United World College – South East Asia, Dover Campus, 1207 Dover Road, 139654
This micro-business school provides valuable training programmes for FDWs covering finance, computer literacy, business management and entrepreneurship skills. Held on Sundays over nine months at the United World College South East Asia Campus, the course teachers helpers how to develop good savings habits, make productive investments and prepares them to start a small business back home.
Foreign Domestic Workers Association for Skills Training (FAST)
Locations across Singapore
A charity which aims to promote skills training for FDWs, FAST rolls out subsidised classes, some of which are held on Sundays and others during the week. Choose from baking, international cooking, infant care, stress management, English, foot reflexology, computer literacy, personal grooming and bridal makeup and hairdressing. FAST also partners with external providers to offer training in looking after the elderly and those with dementia, as well as entrepreneurship courses, secondary education and computer programmes.
Philippine Bayanihan Society Singapore
43 Pasir Panjang Road, 118503
Filipino helpers who’d like to learn new skills should head to the Bayanihan Centre, where training programmes are held every second Sunday covering everything from aromatherapy and dancing, to guitar and tailoring.
For more helpful tips head to our living in Singapore section.