This startup wants to help differently abled people stay employed – AutismSTEP
SINGAPORE: Mr Wee Pang Chun has had so many jobs that he cannot remember all of them. The 25-year-old, who has mild intellectual disability, started working after graduating from secondary school.
Until recently, he worked at NTUC FairPrice as a store assistant for two years, his longest stint yet. But he found the work boring and went looking for another job.
After approaching various agencies for help with finding a new job, he was introduced to Inclus, a startup that helps the differently abled find jobs and stay in them.
Pang Chun underwent a four-week training camp with Inclus, and was placed in a position at Far East Orchid, where he was paid about S$500 per month.
Six months later, the Inclus team who tracked his progress, found that he had become a more capable worker, and placed him in a packing job with Bollore Logistics, where he now earns S$1,300 per month.
Adding that his colleagues are friendly and willing to guide him, Pang Chun said he is thankful to Inclus for the support and the opportunity to learn more things in a different company.
“They supported me a lot, now I feel more confident. I feel happy, I can buy anything I want,” he said, adding that he can give his parents money if they need it now that he is earning more, and plans to stay in this job unless there is a better opportunity.
Co-founder of Inclus Mr Anders Tan is not new to the employment problems faced by those with special needs or disabilities.
After seeing his brother-in-law, who has high functioning autism, drop out of three jobs and fired from his fourth in a matter of months, Anders decided to take action to help others like him.
With Mr Shaun Tan and Mr Arudra Vangal, who also has autism, he founded Inclus in July 2018, a startup that helps people with special needs and disabilities not just to secure jobs but stay in them.
“In the course of my journey, for 27 years I experienced a lack of education expertise, job opportunities, behavioural support and social acceptance, which is typical in the world of young ASD (autism spectrum disorder) adults,” said Arudra.
Many companies still see hiring those with special needs or disabilities as doing a good deed, Anders observed.
“When we sell to corporates, the first thing that we always tell them is, if you’re doing this for CSR (corporate social responsibility), then you might not be the right fit.
“We are bringing someone of value to your organisation, someone who can do the work that you’re asking for, and you will build up the capabilities of this person because you know this person will stay in your organisation, so there’s longevity.
“Otherwise, if you’re seeing this as CSR, then once your funding runs out, maybe this (employee) will become not essential.”
A new wage offset scheme, alongside enhancements to an existing training grant, will be introduced to enhance the employment of persons with disabilities (PWDs), announced Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad on Mar 3 during the Committee of Supply debate.
The new Enabling Employment Credit (EEC) will be available from 2021 to 2025 at a cost of about S$31 million a year, and is set to replace two existing wage offset schemes – the Special Employment Credit and Additional Special Employment Credit schemes – that are due to expire at the end of this year.
In September 2019, Mr Zaqy said in Parliament that nearly three in 10 persons with disabilities (PWDs) who are of working age are employed.
The resident employment rate was 28.6 per cent among PWDs in the working ages of 15 to 64, he said. Another 4.2 per cent of PWDs in this age range were without a job and actively looking for one, translating to a resident unemployment rate of 12.9 per cent, he said.
For full article, please visit: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/inclus-people-diasbilities-employment-jobs-12243876