Empowering abilities: How Inclus is redefining employment for persons with disabilities

Inclus is a social enterprise on a mission to unlock the potential of persons with disabilities (PWDs) through meaningful employment opportunities. By merging talent acquisition with individualised support, Inclus is confronting stereotypes and paving the way for a more inclusive workforce. 

The staggering employment gap

According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 1.3 billion people, or 16% of the world's population, are PWDs. Yet the United Nations reports staggering unemployment rates - as high as 90% in developing countries and between 50-70% in industrialised nations. This stark employment gap highlights the pressing need for initiatives that empower PWDs in the workforce.  

In Singapore, the government's Enabling Masterplan 2023 aims to have 40% of working-age PWDs employed by 2030, up from around 30% between 2020 and 2021. Organisations like Inclus are essential to achieving this ambitious yet crucial goal.

Breaking barriers, one job at a time 

Co-founders Shaun and Anders Tan learned from their initial setback in 2013 that good intentions alone are not enough. With Inclus, they have built a sustainable business model that challenges traditional hiring practices. Their approach is refreshingly honest – employers shouldn't hire PWDs out of pity or charity, as Anders notes this "changes the outlook" and can affect retention and capability building.

Instead, Inclus emphasises a normalised hiring process focused on finding the right talent. "So we actually got a lot of buy-in from a lot of employers who believed the process of what we're trying to do, because we're trying to normalise hiring process – it doesn't matter whether it's a person with disability, or a person without disability," says Anders. "It’s all about looking for someone who can contribute to your organisation. You just happen to be doing good as well."

By reframing employment of PWDs as a talent acquisition issue rather than a charitable cause, Inclus is opening doors for a more inclusive workforce.

Beyond mere job placement, Inclus provides comprehensive training programs and personalised employment support to empower PWDs with the skills and confidence to thrive in their chosen careers. From industry-specific courses to on-the-job integration, Inclus is dedicated to developing a holistic pathway to support PWDs in their road to independence.  

"Our goal is not just to find jobs for people with disabilities but to create a seamless transition into the workforce," explained Anders.

Scaling impact through innovation

Recognising the manpower constraints faced by traditional service providers, Inclus is harnessing technology to amplify its reach. With support from the DBS Foundation Grant, they are pioneering a mobile app that offers on-demand guidance and support, fostering greater independence for PWDs.

"The DBS Foundation Grant will be instrumental in helping us scale; by helping us reduce administrative work, growing our outreach and number of people we serve," says Shaun. "And this system will also allow us to do a 24/7 kind of support to help people who will potentially need it, such as in the wee hours.”

By seamlessly blending talent acquisition, personalised support, and cutting-edge technology, Inclus is redefining what's possible for PWDs. Their holistic approach is not only empowering individuals but also inspiring a cultural shift towards a more inclusive and equitable society.

Know a business with purpose that could benefit from the DBS Foundation Grant? Tell them about the DBS Foundation Grant today!

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