Singapore, 17 September 2015—StarHub reaffirmed its support today of SPD’s Infocomm Accessibility Centre Certificate in Office Skills (ICOS), an office skills training programme that enables people with disabilities to find open, gainful employment in administrative positions.
StarHub was the pioneer sponsor of ICOS when it was launched in 2013. Its initial donation of $200,000 for two years covered the course fees of 53 participants, of which 25 have found open employment.
For the next two years from 2015 to 2017, StarHub’s increased $300,000 sponsorship will supplement governmental support for the ICOS programme and aim to train 100 individuals with disabilities. The course equips job seekers who have physical, sensorial or developmental disabilities with the skills necessary for employment in administrative positions. The structured programme offers modules that are accredited by the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications system and covers information and communications technology, personal effectiveness, work preparation as well as soft skills such as managing workplace conflicts.
To commemorate this renewed support, StarHub’s Chief Marketing Officer Mr Howie Lau presented the cheque to SPD President Ms Chia Yong Yong earlier this afternoon at StarHub's corporate office at StarHub Green.
"Everyone in our community is differently abled, and StarHub wants to empower those amongst us who face more challenges than others,” observed Mr Lau. “It is our hope that ICOS participants gain those skills essential for meaningful employment, and then be able to enjoy the freedom and confidence that comes with independence and self-sufficiency."
“We are grateful to StarHub for renewing its support for ICOS. Only with proper skills and knowledge would people with disabilities have a shot at gaining financial independence and self-reliance,” said Ms Chia.
Before the cheque presentation, 31 StarHub volunteers joined 13 trainees from ICOS in a race held across various floors at StarHub Green. The race consisted of office tasks, such as scanning and emailing a document and editing an Excel document, to give trainees a taste of the corporate work environment.
While these jobs may seem simple, people with disabilities can face various challenges in carrying out some of these tasks. Even the StarHub volunteers felt the enormity of the tasks as they put on props to simulate various disabilities. These included spectacles with stickers on the lenses to limit vision and weights strapped onto legs to restrict movement.
Mr Lau added that he found the idea of simulating disabilities for StarHub volunteers to be a novel way of giving them a taste of the challenges those with disabilities face daily. “If everyone can better appreciate these challenges, we can grow to be a more gracious and caring society," he affirmed.
“I felt that this was a great opportunity for StarHubbers to interact closely with the trainees,” exclaimed Sean Huang, from StarHub’s Enterprise Business Group. “Through the stimulated activities, we could really understand their challenges in daily life and it is heartwarming to know that this programme will aid their employment.”
Expressing appreciation for ICOS, Mr Richard Foo from SPD shared: “I can use some of the skills learned in ICOS for future job applications and I learned to communicate better with others. I have met others who are also disadvantaged and have made new friends.”
“Besides learning computer skills, we are encouraged to improve and upgrade ourselves,” added Ms P Malligah, another ICOS participant. “Our IT trainer also motivates us to improve (ourselves) after ICOS.”