Long-term work attachment programme for special needs students launched
- POSTED: 07 Oct 2013 14:45
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Students from the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS) went through a work orientation programme on Monday at a McDonald's fast food outlet.
SINGAPORE: Students from the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS) went through a work orientation programme on Monday at a McDonald's fast food outlet.
They are part of a group of 23 special education students from four MINDS schools who will undergo a work attachment programme with McDonald's.
The first batch of 13 will start work on Wednesday.
The attachment period will stretch between two and four weeks. The students will work four hours a day, three to four days a week.
Their teachers will be attached to the restaurants for support throughout the programme.
Phyllis Cheung, managing director of McDonald's Restaurants Singapore, said: "Their teachers will also assess, alongside with McDonald's staff, to see whether they're (able to take) simple instructions, like maybe working at the lobby, cleaning trays, and helping customers with the doors. So, simple hospitality roles for them.
"For the kitchen, we try to avoid (putting them there) because it will be a bit more complicated. But for packing the condiments, helping with packaging of food -- those are the areas they can excel at."
Whenever students from MINDS join McDonald's for their work attachment, the staff are reminded to be patient and help them wherever possible. For example, if a student clears a customer's tray before he's done with his meal, the staff have to remind that student that the cue to clear a customer's tray is only after he leaves the restaurant.
McDonald's launched the long-term work attachment programme with MINDS on Monday following a pilot programme last year involving six students.
One of the students involved in the pilot programme was 16-year-old Benedict Chong, who tried his hand at some aspects of restaurant work -- like clearing trays and sweeping floors.
June Chong, Benedict's mother, spoke positively about the experience. She said: "It has built up his confidence and exposed him to a real working environment... as well as mixing around with other staff."
Under the expanded long-term work attachment programme, students across the four MINDS schools will work at seven of the fast food chain's outlets.
They will get a chance to experience various aspects of restaurant work and gain relevant food and beverage experience so as to increase their future work opportunities.
Of the six who participated in the pilot programme, four have gained employment in the F&B and hospitality industries. The remaining two, including Benedict, have yet to graduate. He will be participating in the programme again this year.
Chief Executive Officer of MINDS Keh Eng Song said: "Prior to graduation, this experience gives them a taste of working life outside of the classroom. This environment will teach them to understand and adapt to some expectations and demands in a real working environment.
"This is also where they learn to communicate, how to take instruction from the supervisor, how to communicate with the fellow colleagues."
Mr Keh said he hopes more companies will collaborate with MINDS on similar work attachments so that these students can experience working in different sectors.
Ms Cheung said that the fast-food chain is open to hiring students from MINDS.
"After the work attachment, if the student feels excited about the opportunity, the parents are okay, and the teacher's assessment is also fine, we are happy to support that employment opportunity," she added.