SINGAPORE: Seven students from the Association for Persons with Special Needs (APSN) have been spending time at the Istana, cooking and tending to the spice garden.
They are part of an internship programme that aims to boost their chances of getting full-time jobs.
The students are the first batch to be offered work experience at the Istana, after President Halimah Yacob visited APSN last month and was told that its students faced challenges getting internships.
"That's why when I came back to the Istana, I discussed with my colleagues and asked them whether we can provide opportunities for internships for students from APSN," Mdm Halimah said on Wednesday (Oct 25) after visiting the students in the kitchen and at the spice garden.
She called on employers to offer such work opportunities to more students with special needs.
The internship at the Istana started earlier this month.
Students have to attend 10 sessions - five with the Istana’s household department where they will learn how to cook, and five with the National Parks Board to learn horticultural skills at the Istana’s spice garden.
"It's all about creating an inclusive society," said Mdm Halimah. "Not just as a slogan, but truly looking at how we can do it."
"Persons with special needs can still be active contributors to our society, as long as they have the right training and environment," she added in a Facebook post.
"I urge other employers to provide more opportunities to persons with special needs, so that together we can put our mantra of building an inclusive society into practice."