Singapore aims to have 40% of working-age persons with disabilities employed by 2030

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SINGAPORE - The Republic aims to have 40 per cent of working-age persons with disabilities (PWDs) employed by 2030, up from about 30 per cent between 2020 and 2021.

The goal was set out in the fourth and latest road map, launched on Wednesday (Aug 17), to support PWDs and enable them to contribute to society.

The Enabling Masterplan 2030 (EMP2030) also laid out initiatives for employers that would move the country towards this goal over the next eight years.

It recommended a task force to design alternative employment models for PWDs, such as micro jobs, or temporary tasks that can help more people get work.

The 40 per cent employment rate goal would mean placing another estimated 10,000 PWDs into jobs.

Singapore Business Federation vice-chairman Gan Seow Kee, who co-chaired a 27-member committee that worked on the masterplan, said: "Employment of persons is not just an economic matter.

"It can provide a sense of participation in society, of contributing to society, a sense of being included, which is overall what EMP2030 is all about."

Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development Eric Chua, the other co-chair, and Mr Gan launched the report at social service agency Awwa's new Home and Day Activity Centre for PWDs in Pasir Ris.

The Enabling Masterplan 2030 Steering Committee co-chairman Eric Chua during a question-and-answer session on Aug 17, 2022. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

The committee was convened in July 2021 and consulted more than 300 PWDs, their families and caregivers, as well as disability sector professionals for the report.

All 29 recommendations in the report have been accepted, said Minister for Social and Family Development Masagos Zulkifli, who received the report on behalf of the Government.

These proposals are in the areas of special education, employment, caregiver support, inclusive communication, healthcare and others.

In a statement on Wednesday, Mr Masagos said: "This is a significant piece of work, which describes in tangible terms what an inclusive Singapore would look like by 2030, and provides a framework for us to be able to track our progress along the way as we work to make this a reality."

Among the report's recommendations is increased access to disability support services within a group of towns, or regions.

The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) will pilot Enabling Services Hubs, or centres that will focus on PWDs with support needs living nearby who do not have any regular activities to keep them engaged.

They will provide coaching in areas such as daily living skills, social-emotional learning, physical activity and the arts, host social inclusion activities with the larger community, and offer drop-in respite care.

The hubs will also reach out to residents in each area who have disabilities to understand their needs, support them and link them to relevant help services.

The MSF is also developing a centralised Disability Register which pulls together data on PWDs from different agencies to better deliver services to them.

The recommendations also called for improvements to the country's physical and digital infrastructure.

The Ministry of Transport and the Land Transport Authority will install on-demand audible traffic signals - a series of loud beeps that indicate it is safe to cross - that operate round-the-clock at 325 pedestrian crossings in 10 town centres with a higher number of residents with visual impairment.

A task force will also be formed by the Government to develop new models of community living for PWDs.

It will identify the housing and care options required for people with different disability types and support needs, and design alternative housing and care models to aid them to live and participate in the community as independently as possible.

The masterplan also laid out moves to improve digital accessibility, aiming to eventually have 70 per cent of free-to-air TV carry sign language interpretation, captioning or subtitling, up from 48 per cent now. It also wants all high-traffic Government websites, such as the Central Provident Fund and Manpower Ministry websites, to be accessible.

A differentiating feature in this masterplan from previous ones is the introduction of indicators and measurable targets to track each focal area of the plan and measure Singapore's progress.

"We don't think that 2030 is going to be a full stop. I think it's going to be a comma and it's going to be ceaseless effort to continually keep Singapore working at being more inclusive and caring," said Mr Chua.

"We have set targets for the first time, they are challenging targets. But we are not about to shy away from these targets because we believe these are what we must do for the community," he added.

- To learn about the various disabilities and how one can contribute, visit this website.

- The full EMP2030 report can be found at this website.

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