SINGAPORE - About 1,200 job and training opportunities will be created for people with disabilities by the end of this year, said Minister for Social and Family Development Masagos Zulkifli on Friday (Jan 29).
This is part of efforts by the National Jobs Council that was set up last May to focus on creating jobs and building skills during and after the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as existing schemes by SG Enable.
The Government is currently working to provide people with disabilities 150 new opportunities for employment, training and skills upgrading under three programmes, said Mr Masagos during a visit to Parkroyal Collection Marina Bay, managed by the Pan Pacific Hotels Group, on Friday.
The group employs 27 people with disabilities in its corporate office as well as across its various hotels and serviced suites. They are in roles such as housekeeping and administrative work. Nine more will be joining in the coming months.
The newly announced programmes - Place-and-Train, Attach-and-Train and Skills Development - are meant to complement existing efforts under the Open Door Programme administered by SG Enable that provides employment and training opportunities for people with disabilities.
SG Enable will be engaging and encouraging employers and training providers to offer the new programmes. Following their launch on Friday, companies keen to offer opportunities to people with disabilities can approach SG Enable to find out more.
The Place-and-Train programme will place people with disabilities with employers and they will be trained for new full-time or contract roles. Employers on this programme will receive 90 per cent of salary support from the Government for up to a year.
The employers can also tap the Open Door Programme's Job Redesign Grant to defray costs of making workplace accommodations for people with disabilities such as equipment purchase and workplace modifications.
For the Attach-and-Train programme, people with disabilities will receive on-the-job and structured training by companies through temporary attachments or traineeships. They will receive an allowance benchmarked at 80 per cent of the salary for similar roles.
The Government will contribute 70 per cent while the host company will contribute the remaining 10 per cent of the allowance. These companies can also apply for the Job Redesign Grant.
The third programme, the Skills Development Programme, will provide customised training courses for people with disabilities to upskill themselves. They will be given a monthly allowance of up to $640 for the duration of the training.
People with disabilities who participate in these programmes, which last between six and 12 months, will have 90 per cent of any course fees subsidised by the Government for up to a year.
"For the vulnerable, whether they're persons with disabilities and so forth, they have been particularly affected by this (Covid-19) situation. And while training and salary support is available to everybody, we believe we must keep (persons with disabilities) even more supported," said Mr Masagos.
He called on employers to create an inclusive environment to allow those with disabilities to participate in the workforce "meaningfully".
Mr Lin Weixian, 26, who has mild autism and has been doing housekeeping at Pan Pacific Singapore Hotel for six years, said he was happy in his role and did not find it challenging, as his colleagues were always ready to help.
"Having a job also allows me to help relieve some of my family's financial burden," said Mr Lin, who lives with his parents and three siblings.