30 August 2013

Singapore, 30 August 2013 – People with disabilities can soon look forward to better employment opportunities, thanks to StarHub's sponsorship of an office skills training programme offered at the Society for the Physically Disabled’s Infocomm Accessibility Centre (IAC). The programme, known as the IAC Certificate in Office Skills (ICOS), aims to enable people with disabilities to find open, more gainful employment in administrative positions.

StarHub’s sponsorship supplements the support given by the government to fund the six-month ICOS programme, which will equip job seekers with physical, sensory and developmental disabilities with the skills necessary for an administrative position. Partly accredited by the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications, the structured programme offers modules in information and communications technology, personal effectiveness, work preparation as well as soft skills such as managing workplace conflicts. StarHub's donation of $200,000 to SPD will cover the course fees of 72 participants over two years.

Earlier this afternoon, StarHub volunteers and 11 trainees from the first ICOS batch participated in an empowering race that gave the trainees a taste of the corporate work environment. Held across various floors at StarHub's office headquarters at StarHub Green, 18 StarHub volunteers paired up with the 11 trainees to complete six office tasks—at workstations manned by other StarHub volunteers —within the shortest time.

To add to the challenge and allow the volunteers to experience the kind of difficulties some people with disabilities face daily, the StarHub employees were given props brought by SPD to use during the race. These included spectacles with stickers on the lenses to limit vision and filled water bottles tied onto legs to restrict movement. Others used motorised wheelchairs to experience mobility impairment.

"StarHub fervently believes in empowering the challenged amongst us," shared Ms Jeannie Ong, Chief Marketing Officer, StarHub. "Through ICOS, we want to help the participants gain the skills necessary for meaningful open employment, and to enjoy the freedom and confidence that comes with financial independence."

Explaining the race’s twist of simulating disabilities for the StarHub volunteers, Ms Ong said: “Besides exposing the people with disabilities to a real-life working environment, we wanted to give our staff a glimpse of the challenges those with disabilities face on a daily basis. If everyone can better appreciate these challenges, we can grow to be a more gracious and caring society."

“We are grateful to our staunch partner StarHub for joining us on this journey to help people with disabilities find gainful employment through the sponsorship of the ICOS programme. We appreciate their efforts in planning this afternoon’s event. Not only has it provided our trainees with a valuable experiential learning experience, it is also an innovative platform to promote understanding and acceptance of people with disabilities in the workplace,” said Ms Chia Yong Yong, President of SPD.

“Through the StarHub Ability Race, I got to experience the office environment and I hope that the skills that I acquire from ICOS will help me secure a job so that I can be independent,” expressed Norliana Bte Mohamed Ajam, one of the ICOS trainees.

“It was a truly awesome experience racing alongside my SPD teammate,” exclaimed Eni Sabrina, from StarHub’s Human Resources department, who had weights strapped to her leg. “I did not realise how difficult it was to perform everyday tasks simply by limiting the use of my leg. I am happy to be working for a company that has such a huge heart and that allows us as individual staff to reach out to the community.”

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