Special needs students are being empowered with the knowledge and skills to transition into the workforce, thanks to SMPK Vokasional Merbok’s Projek School Enterprise Kedai Dobi OKU and Mock House Training Centre.
Funded and supported by Taylor’s College, the school’s practical education initiatives, championed by special needs teacher Kumaresan Muniandy, are aimed at providing job opportunities for his students.
The projects were kickstarted after a mother, whose son was one of Kumaresan’s students, expressed concern about her child’s job security post secondary school.
The RISE Educator of the Year 2023 award recipient then started the Mock House Training Centre at a dilapidated guest house he inherited.
With the RM10,000 sponsorship from Taylor’s College, he revitalised the house with essential items, including a fridge, kitchen utensils, housekeeping tools, and quality linens.
The sponsorship also equipped Projek School Enterprise Kedai Dobi OKU with industrial-grade carpet cleaning equipment and an industrial vacuum for the dryer machine, and enhanced the washer-extractor machine’s capacity for maximum impact.
Students who undergo this training include low-functioning students who have finished school, special needs workers from Bengkel Daya Sungai Petani and community-based rehabilitation students who are trained for three to six months before being taken to a hotel for industrial trial training.
“After finishing school, many of our students face uncertainty and do not have a clear path to move forward in life.
“With the hospitality sector training available to them, we are opening doors by equipping them with hands-on experience that will help them excel in the hospitality sector.
“My mission is rooted in the belief that all students, regardless of their challenges, deserve the opportunity to chart a course in life that extends beyond their schooling years and the realms of employment.
“It is also about instilling unwavering confidence and equipping them with the ability to navigate their own journey,” he said, adding that the students are trained in using the computer to prepare resumes, job application letters and applying for leave of absence, and undergo interview simulations to prepare them for job interviews.
SMPK Vokasional Merbok principal Rabthah Abd Rahim, who nominated Kumeresan, witnessed the transformative impact of his initiatives firsthand and is excited to see many more students benefit from the two projects.
“We express our appreciation to Taylor’s College for supporting the initiatives that Kumaresan has brought to life for the special needs students, and for sponsoring five computers for students to use during their training,” she said.
Kumaresan’s initiatives embody a profound commitment to inclusivity and education for all, underlining the principle that every individual, irrespective of abilities, merits equal access to opportunities and a purposeful future, said Taylor’s College Campus director Josephine Tan.
These initiatives, she added, have made a significant impact on the lives of the students.
She said education possesses the profound potential to effect positive societal change.
“By supporting teachers and students at the primary and secondary levels, we aspire to empower them with the skills, knowledge and purpose that will not only prepare them for successful transitions to tertiary education, but also equip them for prosperous careers,” she said in a press release dated Nov 9.