Keppel pledges $500k to boost skills of SPD's disabled beneficiaries

President Halimah Yacob with SPD trainee Lay Choo at the Sheltered Workshop in the SPD Ability Centre in Tiong Bahru yesterday. Also present was Keppel chairman Lee Boon Yang (right).
President Halimah Yacob with SPD trainee Lay Choo at the Sheltered Workshop in the SPD Ability Centre in Tiong Bahru yesterday. Also present was Keppel chairman Lee Boon Yang (right).ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

Keppel Corporation has pledged $500,000 to help 150 beneficiaries under local charity SPD's Sheltered Workshop programme.

They are set to receive more support and training under the programme, which was set up by SPD to provide employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

SPD yesterday announced its partnership with Keppel's philanthropic arm, Keppel Care Foundation. The beneficiaries, who have various physical, learning and sensory disabilities, will pick up skills such as packaging, book binding and leather craft work.

The products they make are then sold.

Keppel chairman Lee Boon Yang said the pledge was part of the company's efforts to empower the beneficiaries and improve their employability.

"Through our skills-based volunteerism programme, young leaders from Keppel will bring the group's diverse capabilities in areas such as engineering, workplace safety, business development and marketing to improve the efficiency and financial viability of the Sheltered Workshop," Dr Lee said.

The $500,000 from Keppel will fund a new apprenticeship programme for trainees who need more work support, a new product line and kerb-to-kerb transport for trainees who have difficulty commuting between the workshop and their homes due to the severity of their conditions.

President Halimah Yacob, who is SPD's patron, received a token from beneficiary Alvin Tey, 26, at the launch.

Mr Tey, who has been diagnosed with Dandy-Walker Syndrome, a congenital brain malformation, has been a trainee at the workshop since 2012.

 
 

He attended a session at an art studio in Jurong where he painted the document holder that was gifted to Madam Halimah.

Mr Tey said he would like to make leather craft products for his friends and family in the future.

Ms Pauline Tan, senior manager of the Sheltered Workshop, said: "We aim to improve both the quality of work at the workshop and introduce high-functioning trainees to the open labour market.

"Since our beneficiaries cover a wide spectrum of people with disabilities, we have to cater to their needs."

The 150 beneficiaries at the workshop include 33 who are working at customers' premises under the supervision of SPD staff on-site.

SPD said trainees who are sufficiently competent and show potential are assessed for suitable openings in the job market.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 04, 2019, with the headline 'Keppel pledges $500k to boost skills of SPD's disabled beneficiaries'. Print Edition | Subscribe