PACE Mentoring goes to Singapore

Mon 17 July 2017

Last month, SG Enable, a disability service organisation based in Singapore, celebrated the completion of their very first RISE Mentoring Program, which matched 15 students with mentors from Accenture, Barclays, Deutsche Bank and Singtel.

The program is based on The Australian Network on Disability (AND)’s Positive Action towards Career Engagement (PACE) Mentoring program which connects jobseekers with disability to mentors from leading Australian businesses. Managers and supervisors develop their leadership skills and disability confidence while jobseekers gain vital workplace experience, develop skills and expand their networks.

To get started, a team of representatives from SG Enable visited the AND office in Sydney to learn about the program and find out how to adapt the model in Singapore.

This week, we caught up with Joel Ong, a Senior Executive at SG Enable, to find out what they learnt.

What is SG Enable?

SG Enable is an agency in Singapore set up by the Ministry of Social and Family Development in July 2013. It is dedicated to enabling persons with disabilities and building an inclusive society. You can find out more about us and what we do on SG Enable’s website.

Why did SG Enable want to start a mentoring program?

Since December 2013, we have been managing an internship program for students with disability from Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs). While running this internship program, we found that some students with disability needed support before being ready to participate in internships and employment. We realised that mentorships can be beneficial to students with disability, because they can learn from experienced mentors, pick up important career skills, and become more aware and confident of their abilities and strengths.

How did you come up with the idea?

We heard about AND’s PACE programme through Singtel, a telecommunications company in Singapore. A team was sent to Australia on a study trip in October, 2016. We observed how PACE was conducted, and how it benefited both employers and jobseekers with disability. After returning to Singapore, we adapted PACE for Singapore with the support of AND. We named the programme RISE Mentorship to highlight how mentorship can help students to gain confidence in their own abilities and “rise” to their potential. RISE also represents an opportunity for employers to “rise” to the occasion and become more inclusive organisations, and be more confident in supporting employees with disability.

What did you learn from AND, and how did you work together?

The study trip, and the materials provided by AND, helped SG Enable to put in place a quality framework and structure for the RISE Mentorship program. AND continued to provide guidance to SG Enable during the pilot run that took place in the first half of 2017.

What was involved in putting your plan into action?

For the pilot, SG Enable worked with members of the Singapore Business Network on DisAbility (SBNoD), a group of multinational corporations interested in promoting the inclusion of people with disability in the workplace and creating stronger awareness among business leaders. Fifteen professionals, from Accenture, Barclays, Deutsche Bank and Singtel volunteered for the pilot program.

Separately, SG Enable worked closely with IHLs to encourage students to sign up for the program. For the pilot, 15 students with disability signed up as mentees. Strong support from SBNoD and the IHLs was critical in getting our pilot started.

Employers with offices in Singapore who are interested in increasing the disability confidence of their workforce, or who wish to understand more about the support and resources available can find out more on SG Enable’s website, or email opendoor@sgenable.sg.

For more information about the PACE program, or to register your interest for our Spring program (September-December 2017) please contact us.

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