13 individuals with disabilities embark on office skills programme

SINGAPORE – Norliana Bte Mohamed Ajam, 30, smiles as she sees her perfect score of a hundred percent for a mock test that she had just taken. Her score is displayed three times larger on a screen magnifier, which enables her to read with the remaining vision in her right eye.

Norliana has uveitis, an inflammation of the eye, which led a permanent impairment of her vision.

“I lost my left eye, so this is not my real eye but my fake eye,” said Norliana candidly, “My right eye has low vision.”

Norlina is one of 13 students with disabilities that commenced their training with the Office Skills Programme at the Infocomm Accessibility Centre (IAC) in July 2013.

The Office Skills Programme, formerly known as the IT Apprenticeship Programme was established to provide vocational training for people with disabilities, including physical, sensory and mild developmental disabilities.

Since 2008, 152 individuals with disabilities have been trained under the programme.

“IAC is equipped with an Assistive Technology (AT) Loan Library with more than 700 different assistive devices and software that enables people with disabilities to be more independent and productive in the workplace,” Kelly Ling, Senior Trainer said.

Trainees at IAC enjoy a free loan of AT devices and software during the course of training. IAC also assists them in making applications for the Assistive Technology Fund, which provides persons with disability up to S$20,000 in subsidies for the purchase of AT.

Prior to the start of the programme, Norliana went through an AT assessment and was trained in the use of a high-contrast keyboard, video and screen magnifier. These “gadgets” as Norliana calls them, enables her to use the computer more effectively.

The students of the Office Skills programme will complete their training in December this year and are hopeful in being better equip to compete in the job market.