Over a morning chat, senior advocacy analyst Poh Sho Siam spoke to our senior trainer, Lim Yee Ming, who shared his passion for his job, looking back at the 10 years he spent training persons with disabilities in SPD.
Endowed with a clear, crisp and resonant voice, Yee Ming can be heard many rooms away when he is conducting training in one of SPD’s computer laboratories. He is part of SPD’s Employment Support Programme (ESP) team, where he imparts persons with disabilities with computer skills, soft skills such as workplace transition and professional etiquette, and job-specific skills like telephone and administration skills, to prepare and enhance the trainees’ skills for open employment.
Although Yee Ming has been a trainer at SPD for 10 years, he did not start out as one. It was by coincidence that he became one. Yee Ming was working for a commercial training school 17 years ago where he planned training schedules, trainers’ time tables and logistics. On one occasion when the company could not secure a trainer for a course, Yee Ming volunteered to stand in as one and the rest, as they say, is history.
His first training session with persons with disabilities came about when his company was engaged to train SPD clients in 2003. Over the few days of training, Yee Ming was impressed by the clients’ enthusiasm and interest to learn and improve themselves, which gave him much satisfaction. A second chance to work with persons with disabilities in 2006 started him thinking about joining a voluntary welfare organisation. In 2007, Yee Ming got to know that SPD was recruiting trainers, which led him to join the organisation eventually the same year.
When he first started working at SPD, his family and friends could not understand his decision to give up a better paying job. “Life is not just about getting a higher pay,” Yee Ming reasoned. “You get a sense of fulfillment when the trainees appreciate what you do.”
Besides technical skills, Yee Ming sometimes shares his own experiences in dealing with difficult situations and encourages his trainees. Reflecting on his role, he said: “I am not always the teacher in class. In fact, there is much to learn from our trainees.” Yee Ming shared that over the decade, he has met trainees from different walks of life. There were former top management executives, businessmen and even gang member, and they had shared many valuable lessons in life with him and fellow trainees.
Yee Ming is heartened when his trainees are able to find employment and do well.
“I am happy when I see some of our trainees, who previously had low self-confidence and were demoralised at first, gradually gain technical skills and start believing in themselves after coming to SPD,” he said.
Some of his trainees still come back to visit. Yee Ming hopes that more employers will see the abilities of persons with disabilities.
When asked if he sees himself continuing as a trainer in the next decade, Yee Ming replied: “I like what I am doing.” He added that he likes to share knowledge and experiences and being a trainer lets him do just that and more – making a difference in someone’s life.