Keppel and SPD Mark One Year Anniversary of Partnership to Empower Artisans

Over the course of 2020, Keppel Young Leaders helped SPD conduct market research towards developing new commercially-appealing products for the Sheltered Workshop.

On 3 December 2019, in conjunction with the United Nation’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Keppel and SPD embarked on a partnership to rejuvenate the SPD Sheltered Workshop. Plans included the introduction of an apprenticeship programme and a new range of leather products crafted by the workshop’s artisans.

The product launch marked the one-year anniversary of the partnership between Keppel Young Leaders (KYL) and SPD to enhance the SPD Sheltered Workshop, which provides vocational training for persons with disabilities. Over the course of 2020, KYL helped SPD conduct market research towards developing new commercially-appealing products for the Sheltered Workshop. SPD, assisted by Keppel, also selected a training consultant specialising in training persons with disabilities to implement a new apprenticeship programme that would equip trainees with the skills to craft the new leather products. The partnership has since trained 14 new artisans in leather crafting and aims to upskill more trainees by end-2021.

Alvin Tey, a trainee in the apprenticeship programme, said: “Learning sewing is not easy, but I enjoy learning new skills and making things with my own hands.”

KYL and SPD also jointly organised a virtual DIY leather stitching workshop where artisans from SPD taught KYL participants leather stitching techniques. Held on 11 December 2020, the workshop was part of a series of online events by KYL to commemorate its 10th anniversary.

Over 50 members and alumni of KYL attended the virtual workshop and gained first-hand experience on stitching leather cup holders which are part of SPD’s new range of leather products. Through the activity, KYL participants were able to gain a better appreciation of the effort it took to make the leather products.

KYL participants attending a virtual DIY leather stitching workshop by SPD artisans

Jenny Leong, President of KYL, said: “The past one year of collaboration with SPD has been an enriching experience for Keppel Young Leaders as we applied our skills and knowledge to drive positive change and sustainable impacts to the Sheltered Workshop. The leather stitching workshop was a good exposure for us to appreciate the effort and determination of the SPD artisans to hone their skills despite the challenges they face. We look forward to even closer collaboration with SPD as we embark on the next phase of our project to support more trainees and enhance the operation of the Sheltered Workshop.”

Leather items hand-stitched by trainees at the SPD Sheltered Workshop. Visit the e-store at

This article is contributed by Keppel Corporation.