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扫除就业路上的障碍,残疾人士也能拥有一片天
— 专访新加坡协助残疾人自立局局长邱玉雯
Paving the Way to Employment for Persons with Disabilities
Eunice Chow
Photos courtesy of SG Enable
Published: EduNation, Issue 6, November-December 2013
Previously known as the Centre for Enabled Living, SG Enable came into being on 1 July 2013. The change in name also came with a shift in focus — the Centre for Enabled Living served both persons with disabilities and the elderly, whereas SG Enable now focuses solely on persons with disabilities.

Disabilities in Singapore

Persons with disabilities make up about three per cent of Singapore’s population. These persons face challenges due to their physical, sensory, intellectual or developmental impairments.

Vision and Mission of SG Enable

Ms Ku Geok Boon, Chief Executive Officer of SG Enable, said that the organisation aims to help persons with disabilities live their lives to the fullest.

“Our vision — Inclusive Society, Enabled Lives — is a simple but powerful statement. Striving to meet the needs of persons with disabilities is at the heart of what we do. We believe that everyone has potential and aspirations. SG Enable seeks to enable persons with disabilities in Singapore to fulfil their aspirations and pursue independent and dignified lives.

“We adopt a person-centric approach to look at the individuals and their families from their perspectives and to anticipate their changing needs across life stages. We want to support persons with disabilities and to equip them with the necessary resources from a young age. Our mission is to empower persons with disabilities and their families, to enhance employment and employability options for persons with disabilities, and to engage the community in accepting persons with disabilities as integral members of the community. We are fortunate that we have a passionate team at SG Enable. Empathy and commitment are essential for the person-centric approach to succeed,” she explained.

Empowering Persons with Disabilities

To serve the needs of persons with disabilities better, SG Enable constantly seeks to enhance its service delivery. It works to empower persons with disabilities and their families by communicating information to them so that well-informed decisions can be made. It also provides access to timely assistance.

Enhancing Employment and Employability Options

To enable more persons with disabilities achieve self-reliance through employment, SG Enable uses a two-pronged approach of creating multiple training pathways and expanding the range of work options available.

SG Enable considers the profiles of persons with disabilities and strives to provide training and work exposure for them. It also works at engaging employers to encourage the hiring of persons with disabilities, and identifying suitable industries or sectors for employment opportunities.

“For graduates of Special Education (SPED) schools, our approach is to collaborate with agencies and partners to ensure a seamless transition from school to work. We are inspired by successful models that we have seen overseas where schools identify students’ interests as well as their vocational aptitudes and start preparing them for work and adulthood early. Parents are actively engaged in conversations to support their children with special needs in achieving their aspirations. This is upstream work that will take time to reap results,” Ms Ku explained.

Work preparation and job support are also needed by persons with acquired disabilities due to illnesses and accidents. SG Enable hopes to connect with this group of persons with disabilities to ensure that they have timely access to services and support in their transition back to the community and their work.

“Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs) also play an integral role in our employment efforts and SG Enable will work closely with them to bring integrated support to persons with disabilities,” Ms Ku said.

Engaging the Community

To further integrate persons with disabilities into the community, SG Enable will step up its public education efforts. In addition to working with VWOs on some of the existing public education events and programmes, SG Enable will gradually develop a more sophisticated community and volunteer engagement programme.

“I think it will be very powerful when the community knows how their contributions benefit persons with disabilities. At the end of the day, it is the human strength and spirit that plays the pivotal role in creating an inclusive society that fully integrates persons with disabilities,” Ms Ku said.

SG Enable’s employment initiatives for persons with disabilities and engagement of the larger community are part of the nation’s efforts to create an inclusive society.

Second Enabling Five-Year Masterplan

In 2006, the government commissioned a committee comprising representatives from the community, and the private and public sectors to embark on the inaugural Enabling Masterplan 2007–2011. This first masterplan charted the development of programmes and services in the disability sector over a five-year period.

In 2012, the government drew up a second masterplan — Enabling Masterplan 2012–2016 — and pledged another $1 billion for its implementation.

To build on the results achieved, the second masterplan looks into further integrating persons with disabilities into the community. It also focuses on the crucial transition periods for persons with disabilities — from childhood to schooling to adulthood and joining the workforce.

“The masterplan uses a more person-centric approach to look at the needs of persons with disabilities and their families. We can declare success in fulfilling our goals if the transition across different life stages is smooth for most persons with disabilities, from coping with childhood disabilities to having access to employment options and care as adults.”

Early Intervention for Children

Early identification of children with special needs and intervention is one of the most important success factors in supporting children with disabilities. Hence, programmes have been developed to ensure that parents have access to quality pre-school support.

The first of these is the Early Intervention Programme for Infants and Children (EIPIC), which provides therapy and education support services to children with special needs. The programme equips them with motor, cognitive, communication, social, and self-help skills. There are 17 government-aided centres offering EIPIC, including the Asian Women’s Welfare Association, the Autism Resource Centre, the Society for the Physically Disabled and the Rainbow Centre.

If parents prefer to send their children to programmes offered by private organisations, they can also make use of the subsidies given under the Enhanced Pilot for Private Intervention Providers (PPIP), which was started two years ago. Under this scheme, each Singaporean child is provided with a base subsidy of $300 which can be used at a pre-approved private organisation. Families can also apply for additional means-tested subsidies.

Children with mild disabilities have the option of enrolling in centres offering the Integrated Child Care Programme (ICCP), in which they learn alongside peers in mainstream childcare centres. There are 17 centres running the ICCP, including those run by Care Corner Child Development Centre, Presbyterian Community Services, TOUCH Child Care & Family Centre, and the YWCA Child Development Centre.

In addition to these two programmes, the Development Support Programme (DSP) piloted in May 2012 will become a mainstay in pre-schools. In the programme, a team of mobile speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, Learning Support Educators, and psychologists go to pre-schools to provide assistance to children with mild learning and developmental needs.

Under the DSP, each child will have an individual education plan with an intervention package tailored to his or her needs. Each package may also comprise therapy and learning support, with weekly intervention sessions lasting up to four months depending on the child’s needs. Therapy sessions are facilitated by a psychologist, occupational therapist or speech therapist in one-to-one or small group sessions.

Learning support sessions are facilitated by trained Learning Support Educators who work with each child on specific issues, initially through intensive individual sessions, followed by in-class support sessions. Both types of sessions aim to improve the children’s developmental outcomes and school readiness. The programme also aspires to encourage a more inclusive pre-school environment and help pre-schools provide better support for children with mild developmental needs in their natural community setting.

When does a child need to go through the DSP?

“A teacher in a pre-school may observe a child experiencing considerably more difficulties than their peers in classroom learning or in expressing themselves. The Learning Support Educator attached to the pre-school will then put up an observation report. Following that, the team will convene a meeting where they will put together multidisciplinary input from teachers, Learning Support Educators and pediatric clinicians before deciding on the suitable intervention package.

“There are therapy and learning support packages for the children. Depending on needs, each child can receive up to 15 hours in direct intervention time. This is a very important programme because we’re supporting the children with the necessary intervention at an early stage of their lives,” Ms Ku elaborated.

Future Plans of SG Enable

In tandem with national initiatives, SG Enable aims to lower and remove the barriers that persons with disabilities face, elevate support for them, and facilitate the sharing of best practices amongst VWOs who look after persons with different disabilities.

One potential area of further collaboration with VWOs is the pooling of resources to find the right jobs.

“Rather than have each VWO duplicate the effort, SG Enable is currently looking at potential employers and sourcing for jobs, and the VWOs can in turn work with us to place persons with disabilities under their care in a wider continuum of job options.

“We want to work closely with VWOs to take the employment of persons with disabilities to the next level. This means ensuring that efforts to help individual persons with disabilities are coordinated so that we can enable them to achieve their aspirations.

“In our shared vision for an inclusive society, every Singaporean counts. Enabling persons with disabilities to lead fulfilling lives is an integral part of this aspiration for our community,” Ms Ku said.


精选文章 > 扫除就业路上的障碍,残疾人士也能拥有一片天
扫除就业路上的障碍,残疾人士也能拥有一片天
— 专访新加坡协助残疾人自立局局长邱玉雯
盛耿捷
图:新加坡协助残疾人自立局提供
刊载:《新学》, 第6期,2013年11月-12月
据统计,新加坡有3%人口,即约10万人是先天或后天被剥夺了某种能力的残疾人。他们有视力残疾、听力残疾、口语残疾、智力残疾、肢体残疾和精神残疾几类。

在“一个都不能少”的新经济时代,不只学术成绩不佳的学生,能在教师特为开拓他们潜能的课程里迸放出生命的异彩,一个身体被剥夺了某种能力的残疾人,也能在社会人士的关爱和包容下,自立更生,残而不废。

今年7月1日,新加坡政府把原为残疾人和年长者提供讯息及转介服务的“活力中心”,更名为“新加坡协助残疾人自立局”(简称新协立),专责照顾残疾人,协助他们就业、自立。新协立局长邱玉雯接受《新学》新加坡教育双语双月刊专访时表示,新协立要尽最大努力,扫除横亘在残疾人就业路上的障碍,帮助他们发挥潜能,协助他们在社会中自立,达到“创造包容社会,点亮残疾人生命”的目标。

新协立已于今年11月,迁入位于红山的全国职工就业与职能培训中心旧址。它现有员工60名,分“服务”和“就业”两个团队。接下来,新协立将通过与各界合作,为新加坡的残疾人提供一站式服务。

签署“联合国残疾人权利公约”

近年来,新加坡为了改善残疾人的生活,下了一番功夫。2007年,政府成立跨部门委员会,推介了首个“加强残疾服务”五年总蓝图,着眼于为残疾儿童提供早期教育、协助残疾人就业和融入社会等方案。

2012年,政府拨款10亿元,推出第二个五年总蓝图,更全面关注残疾人人生各阶段的生活需求。同年11月,新加坡成为第133个“联合国残疾人权利公约”缔约国,许下将加大力度改善残疾人各项权益与生活的承诺。

今年10月初,李显龙总理在新光自闭症学校10周年校庆上宣布政府将探讨扩大职业技能教育,为特殊学校提供更多援助,协助更多残疾人顺利从学校过渡到职场。10月中,文化、社区及青年部代部长兼通讯及新闻部高级政务部长黄循财宣布政府推出“特殊学校艺术合作计划”,艺术家将到特殊学校指导残疾学生,帮助他们发挥艺术的潜能。

种种政策显示,因为身体某种能力缺失的残疾人,从前会被留在家里与社会隔绝,未来政府将拨出充足的资源,协助他们成为社会的劳动队伍,与一般人无异。

创造包容社会

新协立在邱玉雯的带领下,有一项简洁有力的使命,就是“创造包容社会,协助残疾人自立”。新协立会从个人、家庭、学校、志愿福利团体、社区、职场等多重角度来审视目前新加坡残疾人的生活,尽最大努力去协助他们发挥潜力。

新协立希望,残疾人的生活能与一般人步伐一致,不会因为受限于身体某部分能力的缺失而与社会脱节。她说,社会其实有许多热心人士,富有爱心、关心别人,也热心奉献。新协立将努力把这些人联系起来,结合更多资源,团结一致,协助残疾人过更美好的生活。

新协立同时也关注残疾人的家人。

邱玉雯说,家人也需要学习如何关怀受了伤的亲人,如何接受他们,聆听他们的心声,家人是直接影响残疾人生活素质的重要人物。因此,新协立也为家人提供咨询,指导他们如何改善残疾亲人各阶段的生活,为他们制定阶段性的短期、乃至长期的计划。

社会人士也必须学习关怀残疾人、包容残疾人,了解残疾人面对的困难。现阶段,新协立会通过社区、媒体、家庭、学校、志愿福利团体等各方面的努力,展开公共教育,吸引更多志工的参与。只有这样,方能让残疾人融入社会,自力更生。

新协立的三项任务

新协立的主要任务有三:一是更完善地为残疾人提供资讯、咨询及转介服务;二是通过提供技能培训及设计合适的技能配套,协助残疾人获得就业机会,提高他们的就业率;三借着联系家庭、社会和公众的参与来协助残疾人士融入群体生活。

2007年起,政府为了鼓励企业聘请残疾人,设立“残疾人资金”,聘请残疾雇员的雇主可以向政府申请津贴,聘请每名残疾人可得5000元,用以改善方便残疾雇员工作的设施与提供残疾雇员的训练,每家企业最高可申请10万元。

2007年至2012年第一个五年蓝图期间,这笔基金已经发出127万6000元,申请公司达185家,就业的残疾人有815人。这个人数如果和全国有10万名残疾人比,显然还有很大的距离。

目前新加坡究竟有多少残疾人就业呢?

邱玉雯说,根据“就业入息补助”(Workfare Income Supplement)及“特别就业补贴计划”(Special Employment Credit)所给予16%薪金补贴的记录,2012年收入4000元以下的劳动队伍中,有3200人是残疾人。收入在4000元以上的残疾人,如医生、律师、企业家等均不包括在内。

新加坡协助残疾人自立局的使命,就是要协助更多残疾人就业。

邱玉雯表示:“我们的主要任务就是扫除横亘在残疾人就业路上的障碍,尽最大努力降低他们就业的困难。”

新协立也将会朝六个方向,协助残疾人就业。

第一:与特殊学校合作,尽早开始职业技能培训

要提高残疾人的就业能力和生活福利,必须尽早开始接受职业技能培训,才能为长大后的生活作好准备。

邱玉雯说:“我们从成功的国外模式中学习,得知职业培训的时间越早开始越好。在国外,14、15岁当一般少年开始筹划自己的未来时,残疾少年也在相同的年龄阶段接受他们日后能做的职业技能培训。”

她表示新协立将以积极主动的姿态,加紧利用现有的资源,与各志愿福利团体设立的特殊学校紧密配合。这些学校的职业技能学习已经展开多年,新协立除了会在课程上与他们进行检讨、改进,还将探讨如何在课程中融入“兴趣”、“能力倾向”这两个元素。

邱玉雯有18年教育工作经验。她认为残疾人与一般人一样,都有自己的喜好和兴趣。特殊学校的培训课程中加入“兴趣”与“能力倾向”两个元素,能让他们保持对工作的热忱,避免毕业后就呆在家中,与社会隔绝。

第二:与志愿福利团体配合,提供更多资源

新加坡智障人士福利促进会、体障人士协会以及新加坡自闭症资源中心这三个志愿福利团体,在2007年第一个“加强残疾服务”总蓝图框架之下,成立了为属下残疾人提供职业配对、就业咨询的服务。

未来新协立将配合这些志愿福利团体,为他们提供更多资源、网络。邱玉雯说,这些团体已经主动与新协立联系。圣安德烈自闭症中心更对新协立寄以厚望,希望两者之间的合作,能改善自闭症患者的就业境况。

另外,各团体均有各自一套职业技能训练,新协立将在这个基础上,设计出一套各类型残疾人到各行各业均适用的“基础职业课程”。

邱玉雯解释说,这个“基础职业课程”主要关注于就业前的准备,集中培养残疾人良好的工作习惯,如工作准时、装扮得体、遵守工作流程、加强长时间工作的耐力等,这些看似基本但却十分重要的技能和习惯是不能忽略的。

第三:统一建构网络、桥梁,协助残疾人就业

各志愿福利团体在为属下的残疾人找就业机会时,经常会找上同样的企业和雇主,结果重叠性高、成功率低。

未来,新协立将扮演志愿福利团体与企业、雇主之间的中介沟通桥梁,研究两者之间的供应与需求,为残疾人就业问题提供更积极有效的方案。

邱玉雯说,为雇主和雇员之间,建立起一套系统化的机制,通过良好的沟通、系统化的处理、有效的设计,得以让残疾人的潜能最大地发挥出来,从而为残疾人觅得长久、稳定的工作机会,而非短期的临时工。另外,还要建立残疾人的就业机会网络,寻找他们可以投入的新行业,再与相关的志愿福利团体进行配对。

邱玉雯说,目前新加坡的酒店业兴旺,一所酒店纵使采用先进的自动化系统,依旧需要许多人力来操作。新协立将通过所建立的宽广网络,与企业、雇主和生意伙伴取得联系,发掘潜在的就业机会,设计出适合残疾人工作的流程。

未来,志愿福利团体只要专注培训自己属下的残疾人,至于就业事宜,可与新协立沟通,让新协立负责与企业联系。

第四:补贴雇主,改善残疾人工作环境

解决残疾人就业问题,不仅从残疾人一方着手,还要为雇主着想。不少雇主存有协助残疾人就业的热心,却不得其门,在技术、细节上面对种种问题。他们也是新协立服务的目标。

邱玉雯说,协助企业聘用残疾人,在金钱赞助方面,政府设立了“残疾人基金”。每聘请一名残疾人,雇主可申请5000元的补贴,最多可达10万元,用来购置残疾人专用的电脑设备、软件等设施。

另外,还有在面试时提供专业的咨询服务,如安排手语翻译员或职能治疗师,陪同残疾人全程参与面试等。新协立会借助科技的便利,制作与残疾人相关的简易说明、专业知识等,提供给有需要的雇主。

第五:提早介入收效高

任何疾病能提早检测,提早医治最好。某些孩童的行为、语言、社交等能力比同龄孩子缓慢,也是越早检测、越早治疗越好。

在2007年第一个“加强残疾服务”总蓝图,政府推介了“提早介入婴儿和孩童计划”,有残疾孩童的家长可向政府申请每个孩子300元的津贴。新加坡共有17所由志愿福利团体运作、政府援助的“早期介入计划中心”,为学习发展比较缓慢、有发展障碍的孩童提供特殊教育。另外还有私人开设的“早期介入计划中心”,可供家长选择。

邱玉雯说,新协立会对这些私人中心进行审核,确保中心的服务、设施、技术均能达到安全、合格的水平。将孩子送入这些中心的家长也同样能申请300元的津贴。

如果症状较轻微,则可送入现有的17所综合托儿所。在综合托儿所里,有轻度至中度残疾的孩童可以和一般孩童一起学习、交流和玩乐,以备日后进入主流学校就读。这些中心的教师都具备了特殊教育文凭。

第六:推广启发辅助计划

新加坡约有3%的孩子有发展障碍。为了克服孩童早年的发展障碍,社会及家庭发展部已于今年5月正式推行“启发辅助计划”。这项计划指的是由专业人士、治疗师和教师合力针对孩童的发展障碍所设计的课程。

邱玉雯说,目前推行启发辅助计划的幼儿园集中于西部,未来新协立将与更多幼儿园合作,将启发辅助计划推广到全国,尽早协助孩童克服残疾所带来的阻扰,日后顺利进入主流学校接受教育。

成为拓荒者

邱玉雯毕业于新加坡国立大学文学院。出掌新协立之前,是一位有18年丰富经验的教育工作者。她曾在教育部总部、耘青中学和莱佛士书院任职。

在莱佛士书院任副院长时,她经常和学生讨论成为“思想家、领导人、拓荒者”的理念。她认为如今的社会,仍然有着一群残疾人,需要社会人士关怀和协助,需要很多人充当社会服务领域的“拓荒者”。

她说:“社会的不幸一直存在,不曾消失,问题在于能否尽早发现这些不幸的存在。而发现了不幸,是否认真思考不幸的症结所在,抑或视而不见。我如今投身于一个全新领域是极具挑战性的,有很多新知识、新技能正等着我去学习。”

不管是教育界还是社会服务界,两者都是以人为本。邱玉雯相信,只要能够集中充足的资源和富有热忱的优秀人才,就能建造一个互相扶持的包容社会,没人会被忽略和遗忘,而新加坡的社会服务领域正朝着这方面前进。
Ku Geok Boon / 邱玉雯
邱玉雯毕业于新加坡国立大学文学院, 获文学荣誉学士学位。之后,她考获教育文凭与硕士文凭。出掌新协立之前,她是一位有18年丰富经验的教育工作者,曾在教育部总部、耘青中学、莱佛士书院和社会及家庭发展部任职。公职以外,她活跃于社区服务,与社区组织、义工团队一起推动有利于幼童福利的工作。她希望透过为教育界和社区服务的丰富经验,创造更多创新的方法,来提升社会服务。 Ms Ku Geok Boon graduated from the National University of Singapore with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours). She holds a post-graduate Diploma in Education and a Master of Arts. Ms Ku is currently the Chief Executive Officer of SG Enable.

As an educator with 18 years of experience, Ms Ku taught at Yuan Ching Secondary School, and was the Vice Principal of Raffles Institution. She also worked at the Headquarters of the Ministry of Education and at the Ministry of Social and Family Development before joining SG Enable.

Ms Ku is also actively involved in community service, working closely with community organisations and volunteers to spearhead new initiatives to benefit children. She is active in the early childhood education scene, contributing towards staff and curriculum development at pre-schools. Ms Ku hopes to tap on her diverse experience to bring about new and innovative ways to deliver social services.

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