- Persons with disabilties can work in mainstream work environments, with job support and accommodations where necessary.
- For students with disabilities in SPED schools and IHLS, there are programmes available to help you start planning early and preparing for work-life after formal education.
- For people with acquired disabilities, programmes like SG Enable's Hospital-to-Work programme can help facilitate your return to work.
- SG Enable works with its appointed Social Service Agency (SSA) partners to offer job placement and job support services for persons with disabilities. There are training programmes customised for persons with disabilities to help them acquire new skills to enhance their employability.
- Assistive technology can help those with disabilities be more productive at work.
- Persons with disabilities are legally entitled to timely salary payment, paid medical leave, and no discrimination at work.
For information on funding support, training and other resources for persons with disabilities, employers, training providers and job coaches, please refer to SG Enable’s Disability Employment website.
For information on sheltered workshops and other adult care services, please click on the Service Directory.
At the individual level, employment can boost a person’s physical, mental and emotional well-being. It gives an individual the dignity of earning his own keep, and a sense of fulfilment that comes from using his skills and talents meaningfully, and contributing to his family and society.
Persons with disabilities can generally work in mainstream, non-segregated environments, or in supported employment. Both models involve competitive work done in integrated work settings, but differ in the level of accommodation and job support received by the employee with disability.
Preparing for work - Students in SPED schools
Actions to take
- Plan early for life after school, with transition planning programmes or job preparation initiatives.
- Explore vocational education in the special education setting.
Post-school planning begins many years before graduation, when the student is 13-14 years old.
Special Education (SPED) schools will work with students and their parents to provide support through a structured transition planning process. Students are assessed on their interests, preferences, employability and strengths. Different SPED schools may adopt different programmes and processes, so caregivers may want to check with the school early to facilitate goal-setting with their care recipient.
SG Enable works with participating SPED schools on the School-to-Work Transition Programme (S2W) and other work preparation initiatives such as Job Shadowing Day. The S2W programme is a structured programme of up to 2 years for fresh SPED graduates, which includes placing trainees in internships in workplaces under the supervision of job coaches to gain real-world work experience. The selection process for S2W starts in the last year of SPED school.
Some students with disabilities will go on the vocational track in special education settings. Metta School, APSN Delta Senior School and Mountbatten Vocational School offer vocational education leading to national (WSQ and NITEC) certification, which helps improve their employment prospects. More information can be found on our Education page.
Other post-school options for SPED students are sheltered workshops and day care centres.
Preparing for work - Students in IHLs
Actions to take
- Reach out to your institution's SEN support office for information on work preparation.
- Explore internships or mentorship opportunities to gain experience and build your resume.
Students in IHLs are increasingly recognising the value of internships, vacation jobs and attachments to gain real-world working experience and building their resumes. Students with disabilities tend to face more challenges in this regard than their typical peers, which could put them at a disadvantage when it comes to securing jobs post-graduation.
Every IHL has a SEN Support Office or equivalent which helps students with disabilities access educational services. Students may approach the office to obtain support for work preparation. These may be run by agencies like SG Enable. For more information, click on the links below:
These free programmes are complimentary for Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents only. Disabilities supported by SG Enable for adult services are: autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability, physical impairment, hearing impairment and visual impairment.
Preparing for work - Adults with acquired disabilities
Actions to take
- Consider signing up for SG Enable's Hospital-to-Work programme.
For adults who have an acquired disability due to accidents or illness, the limitations posed by their impairments may prevent them from returning to their jobs. Returning to work is a long process of letting go of the past, discovering new career interests and learning new skills.
SG Enable’s Hospital-to-Work (H2W) programme provides participants with acquired disabilities with employment and case management support in gaining sustainable employment. The support focuses on the participants' skills enhancement or re-skilling, complemented by employment services such as job placement and support. Support is coordinated through a H2W Case Manager.
The H2W programme is targeted at Singapore Citizens and PRs with acquired disabilities. Disabilities supported by SG Enable for adult services are: autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability, physical impairment, hearing impairment and visual impairment.
Actions To Take
- Approach SG Enable for Job Place and Job Support (JPJS) through SG Enable's appointed SSA partners i.e. Autism Resource Centre (ARC), Movement for the Intellectually Disabled Singapore (MINDS) and SPD.
- Browse the job vacancies offered by inclusive employers on SG Enable's Disability Employment Jobs Portal.
Persons with disabilities who approach SG Enable for employment assistance will be referred to the appointed SSA partners for Job Placement and Job Support (JPJS) services.
For persons with disabilities, job-hunting takes more time. There are specialised services to help them if they need it, such as Job Placement and Job Support (JPJS).
A number of organisations, including SPED schools, provide employment assistance to jobseekers, though not all provide the suite of services associated with job placement and job support agencies. Basically, JPJS services cover the following:
- Assess the jobseeker’s strengths, job interests and skills, and identify training opportunities
- Help the jobseeker identify job opportunities and link up with prospective employers
- Assess the nature of the job and job tasks for suitability
- Assess the built environment for accessibility
- Work with the employer to job carve and recommend workplace modification, and make use of assistive devices, if needed
- On-site job coaching to help the new employee integrate into the workplace and make friends
SG Enable and its partners, Autism Resource Centre (Singapore), Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS) and SPD, are agencies funded by the government to provide JPJS services. These agencies will work with the jobseekers to see what support is required, which could range from job matching to job coaching that can last up to 12 months. Persons with disabilities who are interested to seek employment or apply for vacancies with inclusive employers can email SG Enable at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Actions To Take
- Consider enrolling into training courses to upgrade your skills and improve your employability.
- Apply for grants and subsidies to support your training.
Having relevant skills is an essential first step to getting a job and staying in the job. There is no shortage of courses in Singapore, but inclusive courses are far fewer in number. SG Enable funds training providers to develop and conduct courses that are customised for persons with disabilities. Being subsidised, they also available at nominal rates. Information on such courses can be found in the link below:
Persons with disabilities may also explore other training courses listed on My SkillsFuture (those eligible for SkillsFuture Credits) and courses offered by private schools and IHLs.
Grants and subsidies are available to persons with disabilities to help defray training cost. These include:
- Mediacorp Enable Fund
- SkillsFuture Credit
- SkillsFuture Study Awards (SFSA)
- Workfare Skills Support (WSS) Scheme
Employers who hire persons with disabilities may also be eligible for funding support under the Open Door Programme (ODP) when they send their employees with disabilities for training.
Assistive technology at work
Actions to take
- Learn more about assistive technology devices by visiting Tech Able or by using the Tech Able web app.
- Explore funding options for subsidised use of Assistive Technology devices, such as Open Door Programme.
Assistive technology (AT) devices and software can help lower the barriers at work and enhance productivity for persons with disabilities.
Employers of persons with disabilities can tap the Open Door Programme's Job Redesign Grant to support redesigning of jobs such as purchase of equipment and workplace modification.
Persons with disabilities may visit Tech Able to learn more about AT devices that could help lower the barrier and enhance their productivity at work. If they require AT assessment, and help to apply for subsidies for AT if they are eligible, they may refer to our service directory to find out more.
The Tech Able Web App provides information about AT devices that may suit persons with disabilities and their caregivers. When in Tech Able, users can select one of the four virtual guides for a guided tour, and they will highlight some of the AT devices that can help lower barriers for persons with disabilities for work, learn, play and living. Users who are interested to purchase or find out more about an AT device may contact the vendors directly. Vendors’ details are listed within.
More information on the types of AT solutions and financial supports available can be found on the Assistive Technology page.
All employees in Singapore, including those with disabilities, have entitlements such as on-time payment of salaries and paid medical leave.
The Ministry of Manpower’s WorkRight initiative helps employees understand their rights in accordance with the Employment Act and CPF Act (Central Provident Fund Act).
Employees, including those with disabilities, who have faced discrimination while looking for a job or discrimination at work can lodge a report with the Tripartite Alliance for Fair Employment Practices (TAFEP). Some organisations also offer advisory services on employment laws.
Resources and Support
- Resources for students in SPED schools
- Resources for students in IHLs
- Resources on Assistive Technology
- Information on Employment Laws
- Additional resources for Caregivers