MSF to Run Annual Programme that Introduces Special Students to Various Job Roles

October 16, 201711:23 am798 views

An initiative to help special education (Sped) school students discover job interests early and introduce them to professional world is set to be scaled up soon, as part of the efforts to reach more students, Straits Times reports.

Named as Job Shadowing Day, the initiative will run as an annual programme from next year, said the Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee on Saturday (Oct 14). First initiated by disability support agency SG Enable on 2016, the programme offers students an opportunity to be assigned at various workplaces, such as hotel, restaurant, or government agency for a day. Additionally, Mr Lee said that through such scheme, this will help strengthen the employability of Sped graduates in the future.

This year, about 90 students coming from eight Sped schools across Singapore took part in the programme which was on last September. Aged between 15 and 18, they were attached to 16 employers from different industries. Last year, 80 students have learnt about the working world by participating in the programme.

Among the participants who signed up the initiative last year was Nur Farahnisha Sahlan, 18. Originally coming from Minds Lee Kong Chian Gardens School, she was assigned to work in Pan Pacific Hotels Group. She was asked to take do housekeeping tasks, such as making the beds and vacuuming the floor alongside the other co-workers. Giving the complexity of the tasks, these had to be broken down into simpler steps to make it easier for students to grasp and learn.

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Ms Farahnisha said she enjoyed the work, and got to make friends in the process. She also admitted that the experience was fun, while she gained a lot of the things. Her supervisors were so impressed with her positive attitude and great willingness to learn, which then they offered her a four-month job attachment earlier this year.

Director of human capital and development at Pan Pacific Singapore, Ms Alice Lee said that her organisation hopes to draw more Sped students through the programme.

“I think the one day of job shadowing helps students to have a better understanding of the roles that they would be doing. For employers, we are able to mingle with them and understand how we can work with them,” she added.

Job Shadowing Day was started as an attempt to help Sped students discover their specific career interests, given that some students had found it challenging to identify what they want to do after graduating from school. Therefore, the initiative helps to address this gap at an earlier stage, while the students are still in their schooling years, said Mr Lee, who was speaking at SG Enable’s training and career fair at the Enabling Village in Lengkok Bahru.

Not only beneficial for the students, Mr Lee added that employers can also gain benefits by tapping on the manpower pipeline represented by the Sped students. “These opportunities to interact will also allow employers to better assess the abilities of our students and their suitability for job roles and in turn, work with our schools to build on the students’ skill sets, in order to grow their pipeline of potential employees,” he said.

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