More than 70 Singaporean organisations and individuals were recognised for supporting disabled workers at the Enabling Employers Awards ceremony on Friday 21 July.

The ceremony took place at the Pan Pacific, and highlighted businesses which have helped erode the barriers faced by some differently able people when trying to enter the workforce.

“Persons with disabilities excel in workplaces where they have supportive and understanding supervisors and co-workers, and they can do meaningful work that plays to their strengths and focuses on their abilities,” said social and family development minister Tan Chuan-Jin, at the ceremony.

One of the award winners was United Overseas Bank (UOB), which was given the Leader Award for creating jobs for people with diverse abilities at its UOB Scan Hub – its centre for checking, digitisation and archiving of customer documents. Around 40 per cent of employees there have autism or impaired hearing.

“The award is an affirmation of UOB’s commitment to inclusive hiring,” Susan Hwee, head of group technology and operations at UOB, told Today Online. “We believe in harnessing the strengths of a diverse workforce and the advantages that these different skills can bring to the organisation.”

At a separate seminar called ‘Fostering Inclusion At The Workplace’, Autism Resource Centre (ARC) president Denise Phua said disabled workers were a valuable resource in Singapore’s manpower-lean economy.

“The employers and tight labour market can tap on an underexplored manpower pool. If we train and support people with disabilities well, many of them can work,” Phua told the Straits Times.

There are also schemes for employers such as the Open Door Programme, which offer training grants for organisations to help them develop customised work programmes for staff with disabilities.

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