Association for Persons with Special Needs has trained more people to find jobs

Ms Angie Hoe, who has mild intellectual disability and Down's Syndrome, has been working at Astons Singapore for about two months now.
Ms Angie Hoe, who has mild intellectual disability and Down's Syndrome, has been working at Astons Singapore for about two months now.PHOTO: ASSOCIATION FOR PERSONS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

SINGAPORE - Ms Angie Hoe, 33, has been working at Astons Singapore for about two months now.

She has mild intellectual disability and Down's Syndrome, and this is her first job.

After 25 years of support, training and education with the Association for Persons with Special Needs (APSN), she joined Astons as a part-time crew member in June.

More like her from APSN have also found employment, said the social service agency on Friday (Aug 2).

Between April 2018 and March 2019, 111 students and trainees from APSN found jobs, 15.6 per cent more than the previous period.

At APSN Delta Senior School, a purpose-built vocational school for those with special needs, 84 per cent of its student cohort that pursued a Workforce Skills Qualification found jobs in 2018.

In 2017, 87 per cent of its cohort that achieved the same qualification found employment. Not all students attempt to obtain the certification.

APSN has programmes in place to help its students and trainees to assimilate into the work force.

Trainees from APSN's Centre for Adults receive job support from the agency for at least a year, covering job coaching, employer training and counselling.

Its students go through the agency's school programmes and internships that prepare them to enter the workforce.

The association held a charity dinner on Friday (Aug 2) at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre at Marina Bay Sands.

The dinner also featured an exhibition showcase of stories of beneficiaries like Ms Hoe who have shown resilience and perseverance to excel in their fields despite their intellectual disability.

In her speech, Senior Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth, and for Communications and Information Sim Ann highlighted the need for the special needs community to have opportunities to join the workforce.

"In today's complex and fast-changing world, we need to ensure that our society remains an inclusive and caring one, with opportunities for all," she said,

"Employers, in particular, are in a unique position to be a force for good, by offering career opportunities to the special needs community," she added.

Ms Hoe learnt skills for her present job - which involves clearing plates, greeting customers, and sweeping the floor - while training at the APSN Cafe for All, an inclusive work environment in Eunos, for two years.

She has attended many of the APSN schools and is now with APSN's Centre for Adults.

She is glad to have a job - she enjoys working at Astons as a part-time crew member, and is happy to serve customers.

"I can earn money and buy what I want," she said.