SINGAPORE: For seven years, Ms Mabel Yee was working in an industry she loved as a childcare teacher. But in 2011, she suffered a heart attack followed by a stroke, which caused a loss of functions in the right side of her body.
Ms Yee fell into depression after her stroke, but worked hard during her rehabilitation to overcome it. She also learnt to write with her left hand and walk with a quad stick. Determined to return to work in the childcare sector, Ms Yee, 46, in July last year signed up for a vocational training programme offered by SPD (formerly the Society for the Physically Disabled) and was part of the pioneer batch of trainees for the Infocomm Accessibility Centre Certificate in Office Skills (ICOS) course.
In May 2014, Ms Yee’s efforts paid off and she joined a childcare centre as an admin assistant through the SPD’s Employment Support Programme (ESP).
At a ceremony held at the SPD Ability Centre on Tuesday (Oct 14), Ms Yee and 19 other people with disabilities were presented with certificates for completing the ICOS course. The six-month programme equips people with disabilities with the necessary skills for administrative positions. Out of 25 modules, seven modules in infocomm technology (ICT) are accredited by the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualification Employability Framework.
Trainees who successfully complete the ESP training programme have the chance to take up internships at companies that provide employment opportunities for people with disabilities. The ESP continues to provide job matching and placement support services to assist the ICOS graduates in finding a job.
Among the 24 trainees who completed the training, 14, including Ms Yee, have found employment in the mainstream workforce.
Ms Yee said: “Many helping hands have supported and encouraged me from my lowest point during my illness up till now. I am thankful for the ICOS training as it has equipped me with the skills to rejoin the workforce. I will continue to work hard to be a contributing member of society.”
Mr Arthur Lim is another beneficiary of the ICOS programme. Mr Lim has a rare congenital condition called Moebius Syndrome, which causes paralysis in his face, lip and tongue, resulting in speech difficulty and a flat expression.
In January 2014, he learnt about ICOS from the SPD website and enrolled in the programme. Before, Mr Lim’s physical condition had made him painfully shy and timid. Today, he is working as a data entry clerk in the accounts department of a multinational tape manufacturer. He has also learnt to use an app to overcome his communication challenges with others.
“I find my life more meaningful now, and I would like to make a difference in the lives of other people with disabilities,” he said. “I would like to reach out to children with special needs and encourage them in their learning. I also want to see others do well in employment and benefit from ICOS like me.”
news source & image credit: channelnewsasia.com