Parliament: New workgroups to look at how disabled can live independently, improve employability

The third Enabling Masterplan is focused on helping people with special needs and their caregivers across the different stages of their lives.
The third Enabling Masterplan is focused on helping people with special needs and their caregivers across the different stages of their lives.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Two new workgroups will be set up to help people with special needs live independently and improve their chances of getting a job.

One group will look at making it easier to access lifelong learning opportunities and employment pathways, while the second will assess how technology and design in homes and the community help those with special needs live independently.

These workgroups will involve people from the private and public sector, said Minister of State for Social and Family Development Sam Tan on Wednesday (March 6).

He told Parliament: "We must prepare our citizens with special needs for the jobs of today and tomorrow."

Mr Tan will co-chair both workgroups, with Ms Denise Phua (Jalan Besar GRC) as co-chair for the employability one and former Nominated MP Chia Yong Yong as co-chair for the independent living group.

MPs were also given an update of the third Enabling Masterplan, a multi-faceted initiative to improve the lives of the disabled and support their caregivers. The first masterplan was unveiled in 2007; the second in 2012.

The third is focused on helping people with special needs and their caregivers across the different stages of their lives, said Mr Tan, who also noted the ministry's efforts in helping young children with developmental needs through early intervention.

 
 
 

Senior Parliamentary Secretary Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim added that more help has been given to this group, with the reduction of fees for early intervention services.

"From July this year, we will progressively offer enhanced programmes that are better tailored to the different needs of children," said Dr Faishal during the debate.

Mr Tan said he agreed with Ms Phua's suggestion to create greater awareness of the third Enabling Masterplan.

He noted that the ministry will deepen its engagement with stakeholders over the coming year, adding: "Together, we will co-create the hardware, software and heart-ware of an inclusive Singapore."