A Stepping Stone: Bridging the Gap to Employment
We believe every young adult with learning difficulties has the right to work and should be given opportunities. An interview with Mee Kim, our Malaysian CARE Job Coach who has been journeying with a young adult with learning difficulties, Yap since 2019 is one of the evidences.Yap recently completed our Bridge-To-Work Fast Track Programme (FTP) and is currently undergoing an internship at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysian CARE has been supporting Bloomers Employability Skills Training, an employment training centre for PWDs through the FTP Programme under the umbrella of Malaysian CARE’s Bridge-To-Work service model.
In 2019, you were there when Yap embarked on his journey with Bloomers. What are some of Yap 's initial challenges and difficulties faced as he entered the Fast Track Programme (FTP)?
He was diagnosed as a slow-learner and had a low sense of awareness. It was a challenge to even tell the date of the day. However, his transformative journey within Bloomers has been remarkable. Over the years, Yap has exhibited significant progress, demonstrating a commendable ability to comprehend and execute instructions while maintaining a consistently positive attitude. We then chose to extend an invitation for him to enrol in the FTP, commencing in May 2023.
In what ways have you witnessed personal growth and development in Yap over the course of the FTP?
He has undergone a remarkable transformation, evolving from a reserved individual into someone who now confidently expresses himself. Despite Mandarin being his primary language, Yap proactively challenged himself to engage more in English conversations. Through these instances, we observed a steady build-up of his confidence over time.
Yap also embraced technological services such as e-wallets and e-hailing and became proficient in using Google Translate. This not only enhanced his comprehension skills but also refined his ability to articulate thoughts—a pivotal skill for future employability and independence.
How was FTP specifically tailored to suit Yap's needs and those of other young adults?
The program's design is multi-faceted, incorporating financial management and vocational guidance to enhance their preparedness for the future job market. Yap and his peers received instruction on the fundamentals of money, including understanding its value, comparing prices, and budgeting. This equips them with essential skills to navigate their finances effectively and prepares them for handling a salary in the future.
Additionally, Yap underwent a personalised job mapping session to increase his self-awareness regarding his abilities and interests. We also facilitated the process of job matching and observation to align Yap's skills with potential employment opportunities. Mock interviews and peer evaluations were also conducted within the program to help with their preparedness for the job market.
As the Fast Track Programme comes to the tail end, what plans or support systems are in place to ensure a smooth transition for Yap into internship?
For the initial month of internship, a job coach is assigned to provide intensive support on the first week. Job coach's roles is to support Yap (and others) to settle in the new work environment. Practical skills, such as navigating public transport to and from the workplace using maps and visuals, are imparted to Yap. The job coach also collaborates with him to create a personalised checklist for his tasks at work, ensuring a systematic and organised approach to his responsibilities.
Yap packing biscuits in Bloomers with much d iligence.
Through this, we are confident he is able to adapt better and faster to his workplace.
As they adapt and settle in, we gradually reduce visits to further foster the confidence and self-sufficiency of individuals like
as they navigate in their workplace environments.
In the broader context, Yap is one of the young adults who have secured internship placements. How do you envision this internship serving as a stepping stone for their future?
Yap’s story is not an isolated one. It intertwines with a collective journey of young adults who have secured internship placements successfully. While this internship will only run for a few months, we trust that this will be a pivotal phase in Yap’s life, as well as for other young adults towards discovering their full potential. We are thankful to employers who have displayed grace and dedication in providing support to Yap and many more like him.