110 employers commit to more inclusive workforce
More than 100 employers committed yesterday to building a more inclusive workforce for persons with disabilities by signing the President's Challenge Enabling Employment Pledge.
The President's Office and the public service were the first signatories of the pledge launched by President Halimah Yacob at the Enabling Village in Lengkok Bahru.
In her opening speech, Madam Halimah said she hopes to activate a shift in the workplace culture here, so that Singapore can be more welcoming to persons with disabilities as co-workers.
"We are committed to walk the talk, and provide equal opportunities to persons with disabilities, so that more will join the public service over time," she added.
The pledge is part of President's Challenge 2020, which in its 20th year is focused on empowering people with disabilities.
In all, 110 employers across various industries affirmed their commitment to the pledge.
These employers will receive support in their efforts to train, hire and integrate employees with disabilities.
The pledge guides employers on how to embrace an inclusive mindset, create barrier-free workplace environments and implement supportive employment policies for employees with disabilities.
This year's President's Challenge will raise funds for 72 organisations.
Funds will go to a variety of initiatives including the Extraordinary Apprenticeship Programme - a partnership between Extraordinary People, Pan Pacific Hotels Group, Samsui Kitchen, Tropic Planners and Landscapes, and ArtSE - also launched yesterday.
It places final-year students from special education schools in work environments to allow them to receive training and real-life experiences and prepare for a smooth transition from school to work.
It started as a pilot last year for a group of students from Grace Orchard School who were trained to make selected halal dim sum items.
Four of them are now employed by Samsui Kitchen to make spring rolls and beancurd skin rolls for Pan Pacific Hotels Group's properties.
Ms Rozana Abdullah, who has mild intellectual disability, is one of them. When the 19-year-old first joined Samsui Kitchen, she was shy and reserved, said Samsui Kitchen director Ang Kian Peng. But she eventually bonded with her colleagues and has grown to be more confident.
She hopes others like her will find employment more easily.
"I want my friends to work just like me," said Ms Rozana.