88 organisations lauded for efforts in integrating people with disabilities into workplace

Ms Carmen Tan Yin Xin (left) and Ms Rachel Lum Yuan Ting are employees with special needs who work at Foreword Coffee, one of the Platinum award recipients this year. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A total of 88 organisations were recognised for their inclusive practices on Friday (Aug 27) as President Halimah Yacob called for more employers to integrate people with disabilities into the workplace.

These organisations received the Enabling Mark, the first national-level accreditation framework for such practices, launched last October.

"These awards celebrate the spirit of inclusion, as well as the commitment, best practices and outcomes of organisations and individuals in disability-inclusive employment," said Madam Halimah in her speech at the inaugural awards held at the Istana.

The awards are organised by SG Enable.

Six organisations received the Platinum accolade - the highest tier - while 13 received Gold and 69 received Silver.

The Platinum award recipients were Foreword Coffee, Iron Nori, Marina Bay Sands, Samsui Supplies & Services, Seoul Garden Group and UOB.

Madam Halimah said these employers have made remarkable efforts to tap a wider talent pool of people with disabilities.

She added: "By focusing on their abilities, persons with disabilities can be gainfully employed, along with a sense of identity, purpose and social connectedness."

There were also four recipients each for the Exemplary Employee award, Enabling Buddy award, Enabling Champion award and Enabling Innovation award.

Madam Halimah said she hoped that the experiences of these award recipients would encourage other organisations to hire people with disabilities.

She noted that SG Enable is committed to supporting employers in this effort through the Open Door Programme, which provides job placement and job support services, training support, and the Job Redesign Grant to defray costs such as workplace modifications.

The Government also administers the Enabling Employment Credit, which provides 20 per cent wage support for employers of eligible people with disabilities.

"I encourage organisations to tap such resources to do more in inclusive hiring," said Madam Halimah.

One employee who has made a mark is Mr Thng Kai Bin, who works as a bellman at Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium. The 29-year-old, who has mild intellectual disability, is an Exemplary Employee award recipient.

The award recognises employees with disabilities who have made commendable efforts and contributions at the workplace.

While Mr Thng's role used to be just helping guests with luggage and hailing cabs, it has now expanded to also include concierge and hotel check-in duties, Safe Entry check-ins and temperature taking.

Last year, during the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr Thng volunteered to be redeployed to Hillview Market Place as a retail assistant, and impressed his supervisors with his adaptability in an unfamiliar environment.

"I am happy to be learning new things and having the chance to do so. My boss teaches me to use the computer and encourages me to try new skills," said Mr Thng.

He added that he is grateful to have a job and supportive colleagues.

"It is better than not working and staying at home. With money, I can help my parents, pay bills, sometimes go out with my friends and treat them to food," he said.

Join ST's WhatsApp Channel and get the latest news and must-reads.