Jobs for disabled people should be national issue: Halimah

In a Facebook post yesterday, President Halimah Yacob invited more employers to sign the Enabling Employment Pledge, which would signal their commitment to doing more to provide training and employment to people with disabilities.
In a Facebook post yesterday, President Halimah Yacob invited more employers to sign the Enabling Employment Pledge, which would signal their commitment to doing more to provide training and employment to people with disabilities.

President hopes newly created National Jobs Council will review how employment is created for this group

Jobs for people with disabilities should be planned at the national level, President Halimah Yacob said yesterday.

She said this in the hope that the newly created National Jobs Council, which will focus on creating jobs and building skills during and after the Covid-19 pandemic, will also review how employment is created for people with disabilities.

They will benefit much more if they are included in mainstream job creation and job placement efforts instead of being treated separately, she added.

"We should look at (employment for people with disabilities) as a national issue, rather than for it to be just an objective of welfare organisations and social service agencies," she said in a Facebook post.

The jobs council was announced during the fourth Budget on May 26, with Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam as its chairman.

Madam Halimah said: "In my many conversations with parents of persons with disabilities, the lack of job opportunities for their children and the worry (over) how their children will sustain themselves after they are gone are often lifelong concerns."

This year's President's Challenge is focused on empowering people with disabilities.

In her post, Madam Halimah also invited more employers to sign the Enabling Employment Pledge, which would signal their commitment to doing more to provide training and employment to people with disabilities.

She said that Singapore has managed to avert large-scale retrenchments because of the support measures implemented, but that the country has to be prepared that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused fundamental shifts in the economy.

The National Jobs Council is the first time Singapore is having a national-level council dedicated to jobs, said Madam Halimah.

The council has 17 members, including eight ministers and representatives from the labour movement and business associations.

She said: "As we review, restrategise or refocus where our economy is heading, we need to gain a better perspective of where the jobs will be and how to make them accessible to Singaporeans. The work of this council is about charting our future together."

She added: "Covid-19 has brought about major disruptions and uncertainties. But the silver lining is that it is also an opportunity for us to review our national priorities.

"If we as a nation decide to define compassion and kindness as what we truly value, we can emerge from this crisis a better people. So let us stand in solidarity with our fellow Singaporeans, and make the best out of this crisis."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 11, 2020, with the headline 'Jobs for disabled people should be national issue: Halimah'. Print Edition | Subscribe