Intergrate the disabled: Yeo speaking at the seminar organised by the MBPJ recently.
MORE than 100 disabled persons and a number of companies turned up at the first-ever “Job Support Seminar and Jobs Fair for Disabled Persons”, organised by the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) recently.
The two-part event consisted of morning seminars and panel discussions ranging from the role of “job coaches” for disabled people, to the business and tax benefits of employing disabled persons.
MBPJ councillor Sia Siew Chin said the seminar and job fair was organised after the council’s newly set-up Disabled Persons Community Development Committee obtained feedback from disabled persons organisations around Petaling Jaya.
“Although companies are interested in hiring disabled persons, they are often in the dark about helping them settle in and are worried about their work environment being suited for people with special needs,” said Sia.
“Job coaches” — professional figures who facilitate job integration for disabled persons, and the lack of such figures, is also an issue, said Beautiful Gate Foundation for the Disabled superintendant Ivy Pua.
“Some businesses, such as retail chains Giant and Mydin, hire disabled persons regularly and have their own job coaches to help integrate disabled employees,” said Pua.
Often when a disabled person is hired without any pre-employment assessement of the workplace environment or integration efforts by a job coach, Sia explained, they end up leaving due to frustrations and communication issues.
Potential employers, she added, were often not aware of the benefits from hiring disabled persons, such as double tax-deductions for hiring, or single deductions for renovating the workplace to a more disabled-friendly.
Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) consultant and job coach Yeo Swee Lan, who delivered the first presentation at the seminar, said the difficulties of engaging disabled person for jobs grew in more rural areas.
“In the urban areas like Kuala Lumpur or Petaling Jaya, it is not a problem hiring a disabled person.
“By contrast, we went to Kok Lanas, Kelantan as an example, and the employers we interviewed told us they are never short of fully-abled staff because of the lack of job opportunities in such areas,” said Yeo.
In spite of that, they would still consider hiring disabled persons for their corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts, she added.
PJ Utara MP Tony Pua, who gave the opening speech, said this was the first effort by MBPJ to assist the disabled community in terms of job matching and hiring tips.
He added that he hoped to see the city council increase the frequency of such job assistance efforts in Petaling Jaya.
Those who missed the job fair, may visit http://okujobs.com.my to view job listings the disabled.