$3k grant to hire staff with disabilities

by Miklos Bolza07 Jul 2016
Several initiatives – including a $3,000 grant – have seen the number of persons with disabilities (PWDs) increase from 350 in FY2014 to 500 in FY2015, according to government agency SG Enable.
 
Over the past two years, the agency has helped around 650 firms employ this demographic. It has been receiving a greater number of enquiries from companies about how to hire those with disabilities.
 
“They’re asking us questions like how do we accommodate them in terms of HR policy, or how am I looking at being more inclusive in my interview process. So, we are trying to support them with different consultancy and advice,” director of employment and employability at SG Enable, Ng Herk Low, told Channel NewsAsia.
 
Additionally, the agency runs the Open Door Programme which helps firms fire, train and integrate PWDs. There is also a Job Redesign Grant which covers 90% of the cost of workplace modification, capped at $3,000.
 
Finally, SG Enable commenced the two-year pilot internship program, Project IN, earlier this year. In this initiative, students from five special education schools will be put through on-the-job training to gain real work experience. The program contains a two-month orientation followed by a nine-month internship.
 
The National Council of Social Service (NCSS) is one organisation currently supported by SG Enable. In order to employ workers with conditions such as cerebral palsy, the NCSS has invested in tools such as the $2,000 evacuation chair which can be converted into a wheelchair or stretcher.
 
According to Low Wan Ve, director of HR and planning and organisation development at NCSS, this is a worthwhile investment.
 
“We think that the value [PWDs bring] to the organisation [far outweighs other] potential [costs] made for the accommodation,” she told the media publication.
 
“The purchase of the evacuation chair that we made can be used for cases where staff are basically immobile for a period of time such as accidents. It’s part and parcel of working in an organisation and not [a specific cost] associated with employing PWDs.”
 
Other changes, such as removing cubicle panels and re-programming automatic doors to stay open for longer cost nothing, she added.
 
Telecoms giant Singtel is also investing in PWDs, putting down nearly $200,000 to make the workplace disability-friendly.
 
“We do see that PWDs are alternative talent source for us to tap into, as we start to bring many of them into our organisation,” Singtel’s CHRO Aileen Tan told Channel NewsAsia.
 
“It’s important for us to make sure that our workplace is friendly to them. That’s the reason why we've invested to ensure they can be quite independent while working in the organisation.”
 
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