RAYZ organizes a career talk to empower people with disabilities.
Tim Harris is no ordinary businessman. Born with Down’s Syndrome, the determined 27-year-old American achieved his dreams of becoming a restaurant owner when he opened Tim’s Place, the “World’s Friendliest Restaurant” in New Mexico, USA, serving breakfast, lunch and free hugs.
His inspiring story was screened to audiences during RAYZ’s first ever Career Talk day on Jul. 21 at City Harvest Church’s Jurong West premises, reminding them that people with special needs can achieve success in their careers and even run their own businesses. RAYZ is City Harvest Community Services Association’s social service arm which serves people with special needs.
“The willingness to learn is a must-have attribute to succeed in one’s career,” shared Roland Teo, manager of the Employment Placement Division of Bizlink, a non-profit organization that aims to help people with disabilities gain employment while providing them with continuous assistance throughout their careers.
Among Bizlink’s services is job matching, which is conducted through tests to assess an individual’s suitability and skills. Typical roles include administration, accounting, programming, data entry and cleaning.
After determining their aptitude, Bizlink links the client up with a suitable employer. Alternatively, one can also work within Bizlink itself, as it has seven social enterprises that specializes in cards and gift-making as well as outsourcing of manpower, among others. Additionally, it provides counseling and training where necessary.
During the presentation by Teo, the audience also received practical tips on finding a job in the marketplace. The career talk ended with a question-and-answer session, during which concerns such as punctuality and workplace bullying was raised, to which Teo addressed with the option of flexibility in work timings as well as close supervision at the workplace.
“Relevant skills as well as positive attitudes towards work gains successful employment but the factors that help to sustain the job also includes having the right perspective on work culture. People with special needs are sometimes laid off or they quit theirs job because of a lack of understanding of the working world which is very different from their school life or sheltered workshop environment,” explains Santhi Singaram, a RAYZ volunteer.
Other volunteers from CHC’s JAMs Church also performed a skit which centered on the benefits of working, such as the ability to bless their families financially as well as opportunities to learn new skills and make new friends. Above all, being employed empowers one to work toward their dreams.