Singapore

Making it easier for those with disabilities to train and work near home

People with disabilities may soon find it more convenient to go for job training and work as the Ministry of Social and Family Development studies the feasibility of setting up employment centres in residential neighbourhoods.

The centres are meant to train and offer jobs to people with disabilities at locations that are nearer to their homes.

Speaking at the launch of a book to mark the 20th anniversary of the Autism Resource Centre (ARC) yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said such hubs would solve a practical problem.

"This simplifies daily commuting, which is a practical issue for persons with disabilities, and builds on local networks with employers.

"Local collaboration in a neighbourhood has many positive spin-offs, builds relationships... and can help both persons with disabilities and their caregivers in a different and very practical way," he said.

Mr Tharman, who is also Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies, said the Government's study draws from the experience of the Enabling Village, which officially opened in December 2015.

It is near Redhill MRT station and has facilities such as the ARC's Employment and Employability Centre, where people with autism receive job training.

Some of them go on to work in the NTUC FairPrice supermarket and restaurants in the Enabling Village.

Mr Thomas Teo, 28, who uses a wheelchair and sells mobility aids, said the extra convenience would be helpful, but added: "There must be jobs available. Not many companies are willing to hire people with disabilities."

autismTharman ShanmugaratnamEmployment