For information on funding support, training and other resources for employers, training providers and job coaches, please refer to SG Enable’s Disability Employment website.
For information on sheltered workshops and other adult care services, please click on the Service Directory.
At the individual level, employment can boost a person’s physical, mental and emotional well-being. It helps to give him the dignity of earning his own keep, and a sense of fulfilment that comes from using his skills and talents meaningfully, and contributing to his family and society.
Persons with disabilities can generally be in open employment, i.e. working in mainstream, non-segregated environments, or supported employment. Both models involve competitive work done in integrated work settings, but differ in the level of accommodation and job support received by the employee with disability.
Preparing for work - Students in SPED schools
Post-school planning begins many years before graduation, when the student is 13-14 years old.
Special Education (SPED) schools will work with students and their parents to provide students support through a structured transition planning process, and start to assess students’ interests, preferences, employability and strengths. Different SPED schools may adopt different programmes and processes, so caregivers may want to check with the school early to facilitate goal-setting with their care recipient.
SG Enable works with selected SPED schools on the School-to-Work Transition Programme (S2W) and other work prep initiatives such as Job Shadowing Day. The S2W programme is a structured nine-month programme for fresh SPED graduates, which includes placing trainees in internships in workplaces under the supervision of job coaches to gain real-world work experience. The selection process for S2W starts in the last year of SPED school.
Some students with disabilities will go on the vocational track in special education settings. Metta School, APSN Delta Senior School and Mountbatten Vocational School offer vocational education leading to national (WSQ and NITEC) certification, which helps improve their employment prospects. More information can be found on our Education page.
Other post-school options for SPED students are sheltered workshops and day care centres.
Preparing for work - Students in IHLs
Students in IHLs increasingly see the value to doing internships, vacation jobs and attachments to gain real-world working experience and start building their resumes. Students with disabilities tend to face more challenges in this regard than their typical peers, which could put them at a disadvantage when it comes to securing jobs post-graduation.
Every IHL has a SEN Support Office – or equivalent – that helps students with disabilities access educational services. Students may benefit from approaching the office to see how to get support for work preparation. These may be run by agencies like SG Enable - click the links below for more information.
These free programmes are for Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents, with autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability, physical impairment, hearing impairment and visual impairment.
Preparing for work - Adults with acquired disabilities
For adults who acquire a disability due to accidents or illness, the limitations posed by their impairments may prevent them from going back to their old jobs. Returning to work means a long process of letting go of the past, discovering new career interests and building new skills.
SG Enable’s Hospital-to-Work (H2W) programme provides participants with a holistic suite of services that include rehabilitation, personal development and skills training, and employment assistance. Support is coordinated through a H2W Case Manager.
H2W programme caters to Singapore Citizens and PRs with acquired Intellectual Disability, Physical Disability, Hearing impairment and Visual impairment.
Preparing for work - Clients in Sheltered Workshops
Actions To Take
- Reach out to your social service agency (SSA) directly for information on transitioning from sheltered workshops to open employment.
- Explore suitable training pathways in the sheltered workshops to improve employability and readiness for open employment.
Sheltered workshops provide job training and self-enrichment programmes to support adults with disabilities who may not yet be ready to work in an open employment setting. However, some sheltered workshop clients may be work-capable after undergoing customised and structured training.
SG Enable runs the Sheltered Workshop-to-Work programme to support such clients and help them transition to employment.
For persons with disabilities, job-hunting is usually not as straightforward as that for a typical person. Of course, not every person with disabilities need specialised services, or extra help of any kind. But for others, a service like dedicated Job Placement Job Support (JPJS) comes in handy.
A number of organisations, including SPED schools, provide employment assistance to jobseekers, though not all provide the suite of services associated with job placement and job support agencies. Basically, JPJS services cover the following:
- Assess the jobseeker’s strengths, job interests and skills, and identify training opportunities
- Help the jobseeker identify job opportunities and link up with prospective employers
- Assess the nature of the job and job tasks for suitability
- Assess the built environment for accessibility
- Work with the employer to modify the job and workplace, and make use of assistive devices, if needed
- On-site job coaching to help the new employee integrate into the workplace and make friends
SG Enable and its partners, Autism Resource Centre (Singapore), Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS) and SPD, are agencies funded by the government to provide JPJS services. These agencies will work with the jobseekers to see what support is required, which could range from job matching to job coaching that can last up to 12 months. Persons with disabilities can approach SG Enable and its partners for help with job placement and opportunities to upgrade their skills.
It goes without saying that having relevant skills is an essential first step to getting a job and staying in the job. There is no shortage of courses in Singapore, but inclusive courses are far fewer in number. SG Enable funds training providers to develop and conduct courses that are customised to persons with disabilities. Being subsidised, they also available at nominal rates. Information on such courses can be found in the link below:
People can also explore other training courses listed on My SkillsFuture (those eligible for SkillsFuture Credits) and courses offered by private schools.
Grants and subsidies are available to persons with disabilities to help defray training cost. These include:
- Goh Chok Tong Enable Fund
- SkillsFuture Credit
- SkillsFuture Study Awards (SFSA)
- Workfare Training Support (WTS) Scheme
Employers who hire persons with disabilities may also be eligible for funding support under the Open Door Programme (ODP) when they send their employees with disabilities for training.
Assistive technology at work
Assistive technology (AT) devices and software can help reduce, or even remove, challenges which persons with disabilities may face at work.
Employers of persons with disabilities can tap the Open Door Programme's Job Redesign Grant. It subsidises the cost of making accommodations for the employee, and covers the purchase of equipment, workplace modifications and redesigning of jobs or processes.
Persons with disabilities can approach a facility like Tech Able to learn more about the potential of assistive technology devices to improve their productivity at work. Assistive technology assessors can recommend suitable assistive technology devices or software and help apply for subsidies, if any. Check out our service directory for a list of places to get an assistive technology assessment.
More information on the types of AT solutions and financial supports available can be found on the Assistive Technology page.
All employees in Singapore, including those with disabilities, have entitlements such as on-time payment of salaries and paid medical leave.
The Ministry of Manpower’s WorkRight initiative helps employees understand their rights in accordance with the Employment Act and CPF Act (Central Provident Fund Act).
Employees, including those with disabilities, who have faced discrimination while looking for a job or discrimination at work can report this to the Tripartite Alliance for Fair Employment Practices (TAFEP). Some organisations also offer advisory services on employment laws.