$30m programme to help workers with disabilities and their employers

A new $30 million scheme will help people with disabilities get trained and look for jobs, as well as defray employers' costs in training and supporting them.

The Open Door Programme was announced on Thursday night by Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing, at the Enabling Employers Awards Gala Dinner at Gardens by the Bay.

The scheme, an expansion of the previous Open Door Fund, subsidises employers' efforts to recruit and integrate people with disabilities. These include apprenticeships for those with disabilities, re-designing jobs and the workplace, and training workers to work with their colleagues with disabilities.

Previously employers could tap the Fund only for new hires with disabilities. Now, the programme covers both new and existing workers. The previous funding cap of $100,000 per company has also been lifted.

And more funding will also be given for apprenticeships: This will be 70 per cent of their salary, capped at $1,000 a month, for up to four months, with the possibility of extending it a further two months. This is up from 60 per cent capped at $600 a month.

Unlike the Fund, which was for firms, the Programme is also open to disabled individuals. They can get help to search for jobs and internships, as well as subsidised pre-employment training and training allowances.

The programme is funded mainly by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency but also the MSF. It is expected to help 4,000 people with disabilities - including 2,500 who will get job placements and support - and 1,000 employers.

Interested firms and workers can contact SG Enable, a government-established agency which administers the scheme.