WHEN Henry (not his real name) was released from prison four years ago, he was shy, had no confidence and hardly any job experience.

Today, he has been promoted six times within four years, and is in charge of a team of more than 300 people at Xin Wang Hong Kong cafe - a far cry from the days before his 10 months spent in jail for drug-related offences.

The 34-year-old credited his success to his supervisor Kenneth Mark Yong, 43, whom he said guided him every step of the way, showed him the ropes, and entrusted him with responsibilities.

On Wednesday, Mr Yong was one of four people lauded by the Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises (Score) for being a model supervisor. More than 20 other companies who hire ex-offenders were also honoured at the ceremony.

Henry, 34, recalled how tough things were when he first stepped outside the prison walls. 'I knew nothing about the food and beverage industry...I had to work very hard,' he said.

Mr Yong fondly described Henry as his 'most successful case'. 'He got the hang of things very quickly...He was eager to learn, and he wanted to be successful. Everybody makes mistakes... if they want an opportunity, we should give it to them', he said.

Giving ex-convicts a 2nd chance