Singapore's United Overseas Bank (UOB), government established agency SG Enable and three Voluntary Welfare Organizations (VWOs) have come together to launch a tripartite initiative "Unlimited".
The purpose of this initiative is to bridge the gap between firms and people with disabilities,by creating potential employment opportunities. This is a first-of-its-kind partnership among the public, private and people sectors in Singapore.
Unlimited is a collaboration of SG Enable, a government led agency, United Overseas Bank and VWOs including Autism Resource Centre (ARC), Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS) and SPD. The aim of the tripartite initiative is to encourage corporates to focus on inclusive hiring efforts. Under Unlimited, UOB will take measures to increase the awareness and participation of firms in inclusive hiring. The bank has already initiated conversations on the same with its business partners, clients as well as other companies.
According to a survey conducted by UOB, lack of appropriate guidance on how to go about hiring PWDs was an obstacle for nearly 70 percent of organizations in Singapore.
For companies keen to pursue inclusivity hiring as a focused initiative, they are required to first undergo an online self-assessment designed by SG Enable and Cornell University to assess their readiness to proceed with inclusive hiring. This self-assessment is the Workplace Disability Inclusive Index. Once their readiness has been established, UOB will connect these organizations with SG Enable. SG Enable together with the voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs) – ARC, MINDS and SPD - will recruit PWDs basis their suitability for the jobs created. The three VWOs and SG Enable will continue to extend support to the individuals nd companies throughout the hiring process and even after.
"We hope more employers will create opportunities for people with different abilities to contribute to our society", said Chia Yong Yong, President, SPD.
Insisting organizations to be more receptive and active in implementing inclusive employment models and supporting the needs of PWDs, Koh Gee May, Deputy CEO, MIND said, "For persons with intellectual disability, there is a continuum where some can work in open employment, while others will need supported employment."
UOB has been actively hiring PWDs at the UOB Scan Hub since 2013. The centre has employed over 20 PWDs working on digitization of customer documents. Appreciating the unique abilities of PWDs, the bank said, “Their attention to detail and high levels of concentration and accuracy have improved UOB Scan Hub’s productivity and employee retention rates.”
Singapore’s commitment towards building a talented, competitive and skilled workforce is evident in the launch of several skilling and digital initiatives. With the introduction of this new initiative aiming to create opportunities for PWDs, the city is sure headed towards becoming not just progressive, but also an inclusive economy.