Scheme for special students to try out jobs to run yearly

Minds student Nur Farahnisha Sahlan spent a day at Pan Pacific Serviced Suites last year.
Minds student Nur Farahnisha Sahlan spent a day at Pan Pacific Serviced Suites last year.

An initiative to give special education (Sped) students exposure to various jobs and workplaces will be reaching more of them.

Job Shadowing Day, which helps Sped students discover their job interests early, will run as an annual programme from next year to boost their employability, said Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee yesterday.

Piloted by disability support agency SG Enable last year, the programme offers students the opportunity to be attached to employers for a day.

Participating employers include hotels, restaurants and government agencies.

This year, 90 students, aged between 15 and 18 years old, from eight Sped schools participated in the programme, held last month. They were attached to 16 employers from various industries.

One of the 80 students who went through the programme last year, Nur Farahnisha Sahlan, 18, gained work experience at Pan Pacific Serviced Suites in Beach Road, doing housekeeping tasks such as making beds and vacuuming floors alongside experienced co-workers.

The tasks were broken down into simpler steps to help her.

Farahnisha, who is in her final year at the Minds Lee Kong Chian Gardens School, said she enjoyed the work and got to make friends in the process.

"It was fun and I learnt a lot," she added.

Her supervisors were so impressed with her positive attitude and desire to learn that they offered her a four-month job attachment earlier this year.

Ms Alice Lee, director of human capital and development at Pan Pacific Singapore, said her organisation hopes to attract more Sped students under the programme.

"I think the one day of job shadowing helps students to have a better understanding of the roles that they would be doing," she added.

"For employers, we are able to mingle with them and understand how we can work with them."

Job Shadowing Day was started after some Sped students found it challenging to identify their career interests.

The initiative helps address this gap at an earlier stage, while they are still in school, said Mr Lee, speaking at SG Enable's training and career fair at the Enabling Village in Lengkok Bahru.

Mr Lee said employers can also benefit, with Sped students representing a manpower pipeline they can tap into.

"These opportunities to interact will also allow employers to better assess the abilities of our students and their suitability for job roles and, in turn, work with our schools to build on the students' skill sets, in order to grow their pipeline of potential employees," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 15, 2017, with the headline 'Scheme for special students to try out jobs to run yearly'. Print Edition | Subscribe