Social inclusion can boost employability

I applaud the National Council of Social Service's Buddy'In programme, which pairs up students from special education schools with their peers from mainstream schools ("Students from ITE to be buddies with those at special school"; Jan 19).

This is a right step towards forging a more inclusive society.

Beyond the programme's aim of creating awareness and acceptance of disabled people among the community, we should recognise the merits of using socialisation as a tool.

It can be expanded from educative development to employability of disabled people.

Often, persons with disabilities are unable to attain or maintain employment due to a lack of social skills, rather than an inability to perform the work.

An example of a successful social inclusion initiative is Best Buddies in the United States, which offers socialisation as the key to bridging the divide between disabled people and the community.

Disabled people in Singapore struggle to find a good fit in jobs. As an untapped workforce, they offer economic potential.

We need an inclusive agenda that will focus on community integrative skills to enable disabled people to do more.

Their social mobility will be the key indicator of successful inclusiveness.

Jerrica Ang (Ms)

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