Upskilling & Reskilling
Over the years, Gamuda has benefitted from the dedication and hard work of many talented Malaysians who chose to build their career with us. This contributed to the Group’s success and market-leading position we enjoy today. Gamuda is determined to contribute back in building the community that built us, by making our growth more sustainable and our success more inclusive.
This vision has led us to launch the Project Differently-Abled in 2013, which resulted in the Group’s hiring of 20 employees with autism. The project was also a precursor to the establishment of the Enabling Academy (EA) in 2017, aimed at preparing more people with autism for gainful and sustainable employment.
The Enabling Academy seeks to achieve this mission through an Employment Transition Programme (ETP) that trains and places young adults on the autism spectrum into companies that embrace diversity and inclusion in their workforce. The three-month programme sponsored by Yayasan Gamuda comprises two courses designed to equip trainees with the relevant soft skills and practical job training that are essential for employability.
We are aware of the tremendously positive impact this programme could bring to the society and we aim to share our experience more widely. To facilitate the replication of more ETPs nationwide, EA has developed and published a Trainer’s Manual, the first in Malaysia that is used by the EA team to conduct Course I (Personal Development for Career Sustainability) and Course II (Job Skills Development).
These courses are useful to help equip job seekers on the autism spectrum, in particular those with high-functioning autism, for sustainable employment. Nevertheless, the concept and contents of EA ETP can be adapted to suit the needs of youths in general to prepare them as they transition to life after school and employment. As such, the Trainer’s Manual works as a guide and resource book for special education teachers, vocational trainers and job coaches for persons with disabilities and other youths in general.
The EA team is planning a nationwide outreach to share the EA ETP manual to the relevant educators, practitioners and job coaches to enhance their existing programme to better equip these youths to achieve sustainable employment and independent living.
Gamuda believes that employment is particularly challenging for people with autism because societal institutions like workplaces, organisations and tertiary institutions are often not ready or lack the willingness and ability to engage with persons with disabilities as full employees and citizens of society. We want to help raise the awareness that society are in it together to tackle this challenge and we need to embrace persons with disabilities in ways that acknowledge their potential.
According to Professor Dan Goodley, Co-Director for iHuman at the University of Sheffield in the U.K., many people in the world adopted a deficit perspective about persons with disabilities which views them as lacking, lowered in capacity and unable to act as full members of society. This view is wrong as it does not recognise the potential of persons with disabilities and those with autism to work just like other colleagues when offered specific kinds of support in their activities as employees.
However, we all need help at work and none of us can do our jobs in isolation. With that view in mind, EA had designed a series of activities that seek to put in place the support needed by employees with autism, focusing on capacity building. This approach assumes competence on the part of individuals with autism and persons with disabilities in general.
We hope that through supporting people with autism into work, we are also respecting and promoting a diverse workforce that is positive and in turn contribute towards building a more inclusive and sustainable organisation. Our efforts with EA and the Trainer’s Manual is aligned with UN Sustainable Development Goal 4 (Quality Education), 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), and 10 (Reduced Inequalities).