In the first year, the factory got support from The Centre and ICTI Ethical Toy Program to set up a Child Friendly Space, which involved a comprehensive training programme and set-up support.
Since then, the factory has been running the space successfully without any external support. Even during the pandemic, the factory decided to continue with the programme, opening the space from July to August, Monday to Saturday. Three professional, full-time teachers and 2 part-time teachers took care of 65 children who got to spend a safe and fun summer with their parents.
Even now with schools open again, the factory continues to open the space after school and on Saturdays so that parents need not worry about childcare when they work longer hours or on weekends. What motivates this factory to continue running the Child Friendly Space? In this interview, we talk to Judy Yang, Manager at Best Top.
1. Why did you decide to keep running the programme independently after the first year? What were the challenges and how did you solve it?
When we discovered that workers have this need, we decided to provide this benefit to stabilise the workforce and improve product quality. Everyone in the factory fully supports this programme.
2. Why are you running the CFS this year despite the uncertainty from COVID-19?
If we don’t continue, it’ll impact the employee turnover rate.
3. What positive changes has the CFS brought to your factory?
We see that our workforce is stable, and some employees have been coming back to the factory to work for us for three or four consecutive years now. Because we can retain employees who are familiar with the work, we can ensure product quality. Also, this programme allows us to improve our employees’ satisfaction with the factory.
4. What aspect of this programme left you with the deepest impression?
Children changed from being shy and introverted to cheerful and lively. The programme is suitable for all children, no matter their background. What also impressed me is that workers can get over worries and anxiety related to their children’s care and safety. For the left-behind children, what they need most from us is more attention and helping in whatever way we can. Doing them a small favour or something small to help, is truly needed in their eyes.
5. What kind of resources do you have to put into the CFS each year to operate it independently? Does the investment you put into CFS pay off? If yes, how?
We hire full-time teachers and security staff, open up a dedicated venue and buy all the necessary materials for it. Child Friendly Space is worth the investment. Our corporate culture is people-oriented: if employees have needs, the factory will find ways to satisfy them. What’s more, taking part in this programme can stabilise our workforce, so we not only keep it open during the summer vacation, we also have full-time staff to help employees take care of the children on Saturdays and after school.
6. What advice or message would you give to other factories who have not yet set up a CFS but who may consider doing so?
In the current environment, it's not easy for companies to recruit new workers, and it’s also difficult to attract and retain employees. Therefore, if you have the opportunity and ability, I recommended that everyone takes action together and actively takes part in such activities. The result will be a win-win situation.
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