Launch of programme that will help special needs students transit better to workplace

Minister for Education Mr Heng Swee Keat (second from left) and Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Social and Family Development Ms Low Yen Ling (extreme left) watch as Delta Senior School students Ms Samantha Jade C Padilla (second from rig
Minister for Education Mr Heng Swee Keat (second from left) and Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Social and Family Development Ms Low Yen Ling (extreme left) watch as Delta Senior School students Ms Samantha Jade C Padilla (second from right and Mr Nor Adira Bin Mohamed (extreme right) prepare chicken stew at the Hot Kitchen during a tour of the school's facilities. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
Minister for Education Mr Heng Swee Keat (third from left) congratulates school principal Ms Michelle Liau (second from left) after the unveiling of the plaque on stage during the official opening of the new APSN Delta Senior School in Choa Chu Kang
Minister for Education Mr Heng Swee Keat (third from left) congratulates school principal Ms Michelle Liau (second from left) after the unveiling of the plaque on stage during the official opening of the new APSN Delta Senior School in Choa Chu Kang on Apr 15, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
Minister for Education Mr Heng Swee Keat (extreme left) and Minister of State for Education Ms Sim Ann (in red), watch as Delta Senior School students Ms Nuramalina (third from left) and Mr Alvin Lai (centre) arrange drink packets on the shelves at t
Minister for Education Mr Heng Swee Keat (extreme left) and Minister of State for Education Ms Sim Ann (in red), watch as Delta Senior School students Ms Nuramalina (third from left) and Mr Alvin Lai (centre) arrange drink packets on the shelves at the Giant Retail Training Room during a tour of the school's facilities. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
Minister for Education Mr Heng Swee Keat (right) is shown the flowers and plants in D'Amozon Rainforest by Delta Senior School student Ms Nina Sarah Faizah (in green) during a tour of the school's facilities. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
Minister for Education Mr Heng Swee Keat (right) is shown the flowers and plants in D'Amozon Rainforest by Delta Senior School student Ms Nina Sarah Faizah (in green) during a tour of the school's facilities. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
Minister for Education Mr Heng Swee Keat (extreme right) and APSN President Mr Chan Chee Keong (second from right) watch as Delta Senior School student Ms Carmen Goh (centre, in blue) demonstrates the use of a laundry press machine in the Anthurium L
Minister for Education Mr Heng Swee Keat (extreme right) and APSN President Mr Chan Chee Keong (second from right) watch as Delta Senior School student Ms Carmen Goh (centre, in blue) demonstrates the use of a laundry press machine in the Anthurium Laundry Training Room during a tour of the school's facilities. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

A new school-to-work transition programme will give students with special needs greater support when they move on to the workplace, said Education Minister Heng Swee Keat.

Speaking on Tuesday at the official opening of the Association for Persons with Special Needs' (APSN) Delta Senior School, Mr Heng said his ministry will work with the Ministry of Social and Family Development and SG Enable to develop this pilot bridging programme for more special needs students.

"The idea is to provide customised job opportunities and training that are designed based on the students' diverse profiles and needs," he said, beyond the current national vocational certification programmes for students with mild intellectual disabilities.

Mr Heng said a multi-agency committee has been formed to develop a transition programme that will start in a student's final year of school, and continue after he has graduated and started work.

The committee will work with a few special education schools serving different disability profiles to pilot this initiative from this year to 2015. The programme will be rolled out to more of such schools in phases from 2016 onwards, he told the audience of 300 guests including parents and students.

Delta Senior School was set up in 1997 as a post-secondary vocational school for youth aged 16 and above with special needs. It helps prepare them for jobs matched to their abilities and provides behavioural training.

Delta Senior School, which moved to its Choa Chu Kang campus in June last year, offers students the workforce skills qualifications programme in four areas of vocational areas: hotel and accommodation services, horticulture and landscape operation, food and beverage services, as well as retail operations.

The special school is one of four run by APSN, which was established in 1976. The others are Chaoyang School, Katong School and Tanglin School. The association also has a centre for adults providing education and vocational training for the mild intellectually disabled.