Launch of the SPD Ability Enterprise – Speech by Mr See Cher

Mr Hawazi Daipi, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Manpower

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

A very good morning to all. Welcome to the launch of the SPD Ability Enterprise.


1) Firstly, on behalf of the clients, management and staff of The Society for the Physically Disabled, I would like to thank Mr Hawazi for taking time off his busy schedule to attend this function. Your presence, Sir, reaffirms the government’s explicit support for the training and employment of disabled people.


A Programme for People with Physical Disabilities

2) The Society for the Physically Disabled, or SPD, started 41 years ago as a small workshop for physically disabled people. Over the years, with the support of the government and donors, SPD has expanded its services. We now provide a broad range of general and specialised services for people with physical disabilities.

3) Providing training and employment has always been one of the core services of SPD. Today we intend to take this service one step further by forming a one-stop training and employment centre, the SPD Ability Enterprise.

4) Prior to today, our various workshops operated separately as a production workshop, multimedia centre and sheltered workshop. They were separate because the funding was different, the staff separately organised and the program formats were also different.

5) The sheltered workshop was more social and rehabilitation oriented, while the production workshop was run as a commercial setup. With the government’s push to streamline sheltered workshops to be more productive and commercially focused, we started restructuring our program.


Improvements and Benefits

6) We implemented a performance based wage/allowance system. In addition, we worked at integrating some of the key operations and markets of the different workshops. More recently, we established a vocational development service to better recruit, train and emplace the workers.

7) It is a natural extension now to integrate the entire workshop structure into a one stop training and employment centre. This centre further integrates seamlessly with our rehabilitation program and Day Activity Centre. Depending on the severity of their disability and progress of their condition, the clients will be properly assessed and assigned to an appropriate stage within the Ability Enterprise.

8) The workers will engage in a range of activities depending on their interests and abilities, from web designing and creating customized photo albums to packing, data entry and even video editing, and will earn an allowance or a salary for the job done. Each will have the opportunity to undergo structured instruction and guided practice through an instructor, and will be assessed upon completion of the programme if they are proficient. Those found to be so will be awarded with a certificate from ITE.

9) The workers can look forward to operating in a professional environment where productivity and professionalism are encouraged and rewarded. This move will help to maximize the potential of the clients, and encourage them to perform at their best.

10) Through the integration, there will be better economies of scale from the streamlined operations and marketing. We can pursue more value-added projects with higher margins. In addition, we can work towards securing more long-term contracts that would allow us to structure operations as a factory-line concept.

11) We will share more details about our operations at the exhibition and tour later in the programme. As part of our commitment to provide proper training for our workers, we are happy to announce that we have just obtained the status of “Certified On-the-Job Training Centre” from ITE. We will be receiving this acknowledgement later in the ceremony.


Recognising Partners and Workers

12) Besides launching the SPD Ability Enterprise, today’s ceremony is also about recognizing our partners and workers. The Ability Enterprise is fortunate to receive support from the NCSS, MCYS and VWO Capability Fund. However, these are insufficient to operate the Enterprise. We need the support of individuals and organizations to make it work. We need professionals and talents, and we need good long-term contracts.

13) Today we want to say a big thank you to all of them. Ms Kau Poh Moi is one of the volunteers of SPD Ability Enterprise. She provides professional advice to our clients at the Multimedia Centre so that we can bid confidently for quality commercial web-design projects.

14) The SPD Ability Enterprise is ultimately about work and contracts. There are often simple and small ad hoc contracts available. However such contracts can be very disruptive and often come with low margins. We work towards securing more value-added and long-term contracts. In that way, we can better train and equip our workers. We are happy to sign two new contracts today, one with Asian Warehousing Pte Ltd and the other, Armstrong Pte Ltd, for jobs we can depend on throughout the year for at least 3 years.

15) The SPD Ability Enterprise must ultimately be about the workers. In 2004, NCSS commissioned a survey, which showed that over 54% of those surveyed held a fairly negative view of disabled people. They saw them as generally weak, with low self-esteem, and were underachievers. We see a different picture at our Ability Enterprise. Despite their disabilities, the workers always strive to put in the extra mile, and are also ready to take on new and different jobs and tasks.

16) In fact, even while we are here launching the SPD Ability Enterprise, 14 of our workers are hard at work doing packing at the Asian Warehousing’s premises at Penjuru Lane, working to fulfill the deadline. They demonstrate the spirit of the rest of the workers, one of readiness and flexibility, to do what is necessary to get the job done.

17) Today, we are happy to recognize 4 of our workers, through acquiring the right skills set, demonstrating the right work attitude and performance, have attained the level of Master Craftsman. Cheers to all of them.



18) The key objective of the SPD Ability Enterprise is still to integrate people with physical disabilities into the general workforce. We hope through this streamlining of operations and focus on training, we can improve the current emplacement rate of around 5% to at least 20%, both at our Enterprise and into the open workforce.

19) Once again, we thank our Guest-of-Honour, Mr Hawazi Daipi, for taking time off to grace the occasion. We hope all you will have a good morning ahead.

Thank You.