SINGAPORE, 3 December 2020 – Alvin Tey has picked up sewing in the last one year under an apprenticeship programme run by SPD, a local charity supporting persons with disabilities. He has been using this new skill to produce leather keychains that are being put up for sale under the SPD Artisan Collab brand at the launch of its new online shop today.
It is no mean feat for the 27-year-old as he has Dandy Walker Syndrome, a congenital brain malformation which affects his vision, speech and movements. Alvin is very happy and had never imagined that he could create a product for sale. “Learning sewing is not easy, but I enjoy learning new skills and making new things,” said Alvin.
The newly launched SPD Artisan Collab brand is an extension of the SPD Sheltered Workshop which was established in 1986 to provide employment opportunities for people with disabilities who have difficulty securing jobs in the open market. In the new programme, bookbinders with disabilities, all with decades of experience, have been working with a group of younger trainees with disabilities like Alvin over the past year to pass on their skills in leather-crafting and stitching to create a new range of artisanal products. This apprenticeship programme seeks to provide skills and training to uplift individuals who have higher work support needs.
The SPD Sheltered Workshop is supported by Keppel Corporation. Staff from SPD worked together with volunteers from Keppel, who helped in areas such as project management, supply chain management and business development.
Senior manager of the SPD Sheltered Workshop, Ms Pauline Tan, said: “The SPD Artisan Collab brand is conceived and built on three important ethos — Craftsmanship, Collaboration and Empowerment. The brand celebrates the skills of artisans with disabilities through the provision of meaningful vocational training and employment. Each hand-stitched product represents the tenacity of our artisans overcoming their personal odds and difficulties in crafting.”
SPD Artisan Collab’s products range from hand-bound journals to hand-stitched leather products. A finishing touch of initials or names can be hot-stamped on the products to add individuality and elegance. These socially empowering gifts make meaningful and thoughtful gifts year-round and for all occasions. All first purchases on the newly launched shop.spd.org.sg enjoy a 10% discount.
Meet our artisans and their works on our newly launched e-shop at https://shop.spd.org.sg/.
About SPD Sheltered Workshop supported by Keppel
The SPD Sheltered Workshop was SPD’s first programme set up to provide employment opportunities for people with disabilities who had difficulty securing jobs in the open market.
The workshop started with carpentry work. Today, the Sheltered Workshop provides vocational training including community living skills and sheltered employment to those unable to find work in the open market due to their disabilities.
The workshop has about 150 trainees currently including 33 who are working at the customers’ premises under the supervision of our staff on-site. The trainees are 18 years old and above and are persons with varying disabilities ranging from physical, sensory, developmental impairments which are congenital or acquired through accidents or illness such as stroke. Trainees who are sufficiently competent and show potential for more are then assessed for suitable openings in the open employment market.