Govt launches ‘masterplan’ to better integrate PWDs into workforce

A raft of plans for persons with disabilities is announced, including the expansion of training programmes

Govt launches ‘masterplan’ to better integrate PWDs into workforce
The Government will spend about $400m per year on initiatives supporting persons with disabilities, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat revealed in his 2017 Budget statement on Tuesday. The funds are aimed at supporting initiatives to better integrate persons with disabilities in the workforce, through the 5-year “Third Enabling Masterplan.”

“We will launch the ‘Third Enabling Masterplan’, which was put together by a committee of private and public sector representatives,” Heng said.

“The Masterplan calls for the Government and the community to better integrate Persons with Disabilities into the workforce, and to give more support to their caregivers.”

During the previous two masterplans, the Government increased support in areas such as early intervention and education, employment, care services, assistive technologies and accessibility.

The Government will also expand special training programmes for special education schools. These currently match “higher functioning” graduands to training programmes to prepare them for employment. 

“We will make these training programmes available to not only graduands with mild intellectual disability and autism, but also those with moderate intellectual and multiple disabilities.”

To support caregivers, Heng said the Government will also set up a Disability Caregiver Support Centre to provide information, planned respite, training, and peer support groups. “The Centre will also work with VWOs [voluntary welfare organizations] to pilot programmes catering to caregivers of newly-diagnosed Persons with Disabilities.

The Government will also spend another $160m in the next five years as part of community mental-health efforts.
“We will resource VWOs to set up more community-based teams to support those in need, as well as educate the public on mental health issues. MOH will provide mental health care services in polyclinics, as part of its broader effort to improve the delivery of care within the community.”

The National Council for Social Services will also lead efforts to integrate persons with mental health issues at the workplace and in wider society, he added.

“Mental health issues may not be easy to talk about, but we can make good progress when the community comes together.”

Related stories:
Spotlight on PWDs in the workplace
How one HR team is removing the stigma of disability

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