Tech, tools to assist differently-abled in Singapore
Many Singapore companies are still reluctant to hire persons with disabilities (PwDs). To help them overcome this, the Singapore government - working through SG Enable - provides technical and funding support to encourage the hiring of people with special needs.
Established in 2013, SG Enable is an agency that works to enable people with special needs by enhancing their employability and employment options.
A group of Asean journalists was in Singapore recently to observe the available assistance schemes and tools to help disabled people in their workplace and their transition to work.
Showcased was the hands-free technology at MRT stations, which makes it easier for those with disabilities to enter and exit the station. This technology has come as a boon to those in wheelchairs.
Set up by the Ministry of Social and Family Development, SG Enable is dedicated to building an inclusive society. It seeks to provide comprehensive support to PwDs across different life stages.
Its vision is Inclusive Society, Enabled Lives, while its missions are to empower people with disabilities and their caregivers via timely access to information and referral services, grants and support; enhance employment and employability options for persons with disabilities; engage the family, community, stakeholders and public in enabling people with special needs as integral members of society.
SG Enable performs three primary roles. Firstly, its supports disabled people and their caregivers through information and advisory services, and support for the use of assistive technology. Secondly, it helps them enhance their skills and employment prospects, working closely with both jobseekers and employers.
It works in partnership with voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs), special education schools, institutes of higher learning and hospitals (for those with acquired disabilities). Some of its services include training and assessments, internships, job referrals, coaching, and workplace redesign.
Thirdly, SG Enable seeks to engage the wider community in its initiatives to bring about better understanding and wider inclusion of people with disabilities within the society. It works with many VWOs, mainstream community organisations and corporates.
The Enabling Village (EV) at Lengkok Bahru is an initiative by Singapore's Ministry of Social and Family Development and SG Enable. It is an inclusive community space that brings a range of facilities and services for people with disabilities under one roof.
The 30,000sqm EV was launched on December 2, 2015 by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
EV is built on three key principles, namely: community facility that promotes integration of people with disabilities; focal point for training and employment; and showcase of accessibility and universal design, assistive technology (AT) and Infocomm Technology (ICT).
EV offers a wide range of facilities and services for both PwDs and the larger community. To add industry relevance, they have brought together over 20 partners to provide training or employment opportunities to people with special needs.
Its Information and Career Centre provides information and referral services for people with disabilities and caregivers. Job seekers and employers can also seek employment advice and support from SG Enable and their partners: Autism Resource Centre (ARC), Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS) and Society for Physically Disabled (SPD).
It houses a comprehensive suite of training facilities, where a range of courses are conducted. An architectural design studio, F&B outlets and a supermarket providing training opportunities to persons with disabilities are co-located there.
It also boasts Tech Able which is managed by SG Enable and SPD. Tech Able provides AT assessment and advisory to support the use of AT by people with disabilities.
Copyright: Asian News Network/ Borneo Bulletin