More help to get jobs for people with disabilities

Mr Goh (in blue) at the Multimedia Lab at the Enabling Village. Mr Goh, who has cerebral palsy, works as a draftsman at architectural social enterprise BIM Studio. He takes architectural plans from 2D drawings and transfers them into advanced 3D Buil
Mr Goh (in blue) at the Multimedia Lab at the Enabling Village. Mr Goh, who has cerebral palsy, works as a draftsman at architectural social enterprise BIM Studio. He takes architectural plans from 2D drawings and transfers them into advanced 3D Building Information Modelling (BIM) software.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Govt sets aside $5m in funds, creates online HR guides for potential employers

Employers, providers of transition- to-employment programmes, and people with disabilities will get more help for a shared goal: helping people with disabilities get jobs. Companies seeking to hire people with disabilities can refer to new online human resource (HR) guides.

Out of an existing $30 million fund, $5 million has now been set aside for programmes which help people with disabilities enter jobs.

And a comprehensive plan will be drawn up to help them gain skills, as part of the Government's SkillsFuture movement.

"We're investing in the education and skills of all our citizens throughout their lives, and that must include persons with disabilities," said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, announcing the moves last night at the inaugural Inclusive Business Forum.

The first of four online HR management guides relating to employees with disabilities, drawn up by government agency SG Enable, was launched at the forum.

It covers inclusive recruitment and hiring practices.

The next three, to be released over the course of the year, will cover assistive and accessible technology; advancement and retention; and creating accommodating jobs and workplaces.

The guides will be available at a new disability employment portal, employment.sgenable.sg, also launched at the forum. The website brings together information on aspects of employment for people with disabilities, from student internships to training.

The $5 million of the existing $30 million Tote Board- Enabling Lives Initiative has been set aside for "transition-to-employment" programmes.

The grant is open to voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs) or other groups which are designing programmes to prepare people with disabilities for employment.

For the workers themselves, the Government is working on a comprehensive plan to help them benefit from the SkillsFuture movement for lifelong learning.

SG Enable and the Singapore Workforce Development Agency will work with VWOs, employers and people with disabilities to come up with this plan.

It will include a dedicated category of SkillsFuture Study Awards for individuals with disabilities who are role models, as well as for job coaches and other professionals who support people with disabilities.

Details will be announced later.

One worker who has not been held back by his disability is Mr Goh Ta Lang, 25, a draftsman at architectural social enterprise BIM Studio. Mr Goh, who has cerebral palsy, takes architectural plans from 2D drawings and transfers them into advanced 3D Building Information Modelling (BIM) software.

Mr Goh became interested in architecture after being inspired by a local drama serial with an architect as its protagonist.

"With this job, I am closer to my dream," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 27, 2016, with the headline 'More help to get jobs for people with disabilities'. Print Edition | Subscribe