Japan supports local efforts to help disabled with employment

Miyakawa (second from left) during his visit to Yayasan Gamuda’s Enabling Academy. With him are (from left) Human Resource Ministry deputy secretary-general Lim Eng Hock, Women, Family and Community Development Ministry’s Development of People with Disabilities department director Datuk Maria Bernard Sinsoi and Gamuda Bhd group managing director Datuk Lin Yun Ling.

JAPANESE Deputy Labour Minister Akira Miyakawa made an official visit to Yayasan Gamuda’s Enabling Academy, which serves as an Employment Transition Centre (ETC) that trains individuals on the autism spectrum for employment in corporate companies.

Miyakawa, who also holds the Health and Welfare portfolios, was in Malaysia to attend the 10th Asean plus three Labour Ministers Meeting (ALMM+3) in Kuala Lumpur.

During a visit to Yayasan Gamuda’s Enabling Academy, Miyakawa said Japan was glad to have contributed towards helping persons with disabilities in Malaysia.

“We would like to continue to work in close partnership with Malaysia,” he said after meeting Enabling Academy officials and observing the training conducted there for individuals with autism at its headquarters in Damansara Jaya, Selangor.

The Social Welfare Department established its Career Development Division in 2013 to promote employment of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), especially supported employment, in collaboration with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

JICA and the Social Welfare Department and the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry implemented the project between 2009 and 2015 to support the participation of persons with disabilities.

Recently, JICA and the Social Welfare Department implemented the cooperation project “LEP2.0 Constructing of Employment Transition Support System for Persons with Disability”.

The Enabling Academy was officially launched on Oct 4 by Deputy Family, Women and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh, who lauded the efforts by Gamuda and partner companies for hiring and training individuals from ETC.

Yeoh said this was in line with the ministry’s call for greater public-private initiatives to set up more ETCs for persons with disabilities.

Enabling Academy trains individuals on the autism spectrum with skills that will enable them to integrate seamlessly into white-collar jobs in other corporate companies.

The three-month programme includes training on work environment simulations to develop proper work ethics, technical, and communication skills.

To prepare partner companies, Enabling Academy conducts awareness seminars and job coaching workshops to assist them in developing a strong team to support their differently-abled employees to ensure they sustain in their roles.

Enabling Academy will also help partner companies carve out suitable job matches for selected candidates and provide ongoing consultative support to these employers, post-recruitment.

To date, 30 individuals with autism have been trained at Enabling Academy since it opened in May 2017.

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