Tuesday, 29 Sep 2020

Certis launches inclusive initiative, hires two people with disabilities as call centre operators

SINGAPORE – Under a new initiative promoting inclusivity in the workplace and society, security services provider Certis has hired two people with disabilities as call centre operators.

Certis announced the initiative, Breaking Barriers, which it is undertaking in partnership with local disability-focused charity SPD, on Wednesday (Aug 19).

The company will also conduct disability awareness training for all its security personnel to provide them with the knowledge to support persons with disabilities while on the job.

All trainees will learn how to use assistive technology such as tactile guides, mobility and hearing aids that can support people with disabilities, among other skills.

The company is also launching a series of virtual activities over the next six months to boost the mental and physical well-being of people with disabilities, such as light fitness workouts, arts and craft classes and music sessions.

Certis employees around the world will be able to befriend and engage SPD beneficiaries through these sessions.

Certis will also be donating $20,000 to SPD to support the charity amid tough times because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The two new employees with disabilities are Mr Zim Loo Poh Thye, 53, and Ms J. P. Thanumadhya, 27, who began working with Certis’ Integrated Quarantine Operations Services in July this year. They work four days a week on a 12-hour shift each time.

Both were matched to their jobs by SPD’s employment support specialists.

Their job includes calling those under quarantine to check on their temperature and well-being, and assisting them with matters such as getting medical assistance.

Mr Loo, who was let go from his part-time job as a fulfilment packer in April after the company’s sales suffered due to the pandemic, said he was “very happy” when he got the job with Certis.

“This is a very meaningful job and I can contribute to society instead of staying at home,” said Mr Loo, who suffered a stroke in 2017 that affected the left side of his body. While he has mostly recovered, the fine motion of his fingers are still affected.

“It is very difficult for a person with disability to find a job. I went for a few interviews, but when they found out I was a stroke patient, they wouldn’t call me back,” he said.

Ms Thanumadhya agreed that the job market for people with disabilities was tough.

In 2018, a fall from height caused multiple fractures in her spine, pelvis and ankles. Now, she is unable to stand for long periods of time.

“I feel so thankful and grateful that I have a job. All this while I’ve been surviving with my parents’ support, now I can support myself,” said Ms Thanumadhya, who had been job hunting since the start of the year.

“I hope there will be more opportunities for other persons with disabilities to have jobs,” she added.

Mr Tan Toi Chia, senior vice-president and head of group human resources, corporate planning, and group communications and marketing at Certis, said: “Through the Breaking Barriers initiative, we seek to continue to make a positive impact in the community by spreading hope and cheer to help those in need, and building an inclusive society.

“In the spirit of volunteerism, our employees are also as committed to join the programme and uplift the well-being of those under the care of SPD.”

SPD chief executive officer Abhimanyau Pal said: “Charities have always relied on the support of corporates and individuals to carry out our mission, which is why we are grateful for and encouraged by the multifaceted support offered by Certis, especially in this current economic climate.

“We hope to see more companies like Certis coming forward to help ensure that persons with special needs in our community continue to be supported and are cared for during this tough time.”

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