SINGAPORE: Youths with special learning needs will get more help on the job front, with a new programme that will match their abilities with job openings.
The ’Temasek Cares — Transition to Work’ pilot programme is for graduating students of Northlight School and Assumption Pathway School who come from disadvantaged backgrounds or have learning needs.
A team of psychologist, occupational therapist and job placement officers from Bizlink will work closely with employers and staff of the schools on job opportunities.
Acting Minister for Manpower Tan Chuan—Jin, who was at the launch of the programme, said businesses can tackle tight manpower issues by restructuring work processes to find potential space for those with disadvantages.
Yap Zhi Yuan, 17, graduated from Northlight school last year.
Other than a hearing impairment, he also has a slower learning ability.
Under the pilot programme, Yap was assessed by job placement officers from Bizlink.
He now works as a retail assistant at NTUC and is monitored.
Ronald Teo, Manager of Employment Placement Division at Bizlink, said: "The placement officer is the main person who will being going down to see him, the first two weeks and subsequently we contact them through phone. And after that we will still visit them, once in two weeks. On the third month, we will do written feedback with them and also with employers. The follow—up will be up to six months."
Mr Teo adds that having a strong support system is essential for graduates, as they may need guidance to adapt to the new work environment.
Also, a significant number of graduates from Northlight School and Assumption Pathway School either can’t find jobs or stay employed due to their lack of skills and weak family support.
But other than these programmes, the government said more can be done to help the disadvantaged find their niche.
Mr Tan said: "It’s about employers, because ultimately, employers provide jobs, employers provide the opportunities. And CSR is one way of looking at it, a corporate social responsibility, how you give back to society, but I think in the process as you do this, I hope that it’s not finding one, two jobs, but actually helping Singaporeans understand what our other fellow Singaporeans go through."
The programme is funded by Temasek Cares through a grant of over $500,000. It aims to help some 200 students over the next two years.
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