“My employer looks at my skills rather than my disability.”

Top-down view of an office employee working on his desktop computerStock image for illustrative purposes only.

Despite being deaf, Darren continually pushed past his limits to learn new skills – and gave himself the best chance to thrive in tough economic times.

As a deaf person working in the hearing world, it can be challenging for Darren See, a 42-year-old engineer, to connect with his colleagues. But Darren has found ways that enabled him to collaborate and connect better.

As an example, he always carries a pen and paper so that he can exchange ideas and communicate with his friends and colleagues. This simple solution of expressing his thoughts or ideas through writing and simple illustration has been proven effective. Darren also continually seeks to improve his language skills so that he can express himself more succinctly and clearer in written communications at work.

Last year, Darren left his job as a Draughtsman in a manufacturing firm after his probation ended. Instead of relying on his diploma in electrical engineering to find his next job, he decided to make a strategic and calculated career change.

To him, upgrading and enlarging his skill sets were logical steps to staying relevant and being employable.

“If I don’t get training, it will be impossible to find a new job. So, I need to upgrade myself continuously,” Darren said.

He added, “Even though my design skill is in 3CAD, I decided to switch from the manufacturing industry to the construction industry. I figured that the best thing to do is to find a job that is in high demand. And Building Information Modelling (BIM) expertise is in high demand.”

Darren subsequently enrolled in a BIM Asset Data Management training course supported by SG Enable’s Open Door Programme (ODP) Training Grant from May to July 2019. BIM is an intelligent 3D model-based process that enables architects, engineers, and construction professionals to plan, design, construct and manage buildings and infrastructure efficiently.

Through the ODP Training Grant administered by SG Enable, Darren was provided with a 90% course subsidy, with an additional training allowance.

Attending the BIM course turned out exactly to be what Darren needed to give his career a boost. With assistance from SG Enable’s Job Placement and Job Support programme (SPD’s Employment Support Programme), Darren received a job offer within a month upon completing the course. He now works as an assistant BIM consultant and engineer, and he is also earning more than he did in his previous job.

Darren noted appreciatively, “My employer looks at what I can do rather than at my disability.”

His trainers and job coaches praised his positive attitude and were impressed with his dedication to upgrading himself to learn new skills.

His trainer from BIMLife Pte Ltd, Mr Loy Seah, said: “Darren is very charismatic and got on well with his course mates. We saw how much effort he made to keep up with the class.”  He added, “We believe it is important for persons with disabilities to go for training and for training providers to simulate real scenarios from the working environment. It will better prepare the trainees to face the demands in the workplace.”

The BIM course isn’t Darren’s first training course. Since 2018, with the assistance of his SPD job coach, Mr. Richard Goh, Darren has undergone various training courses to enhance his digital competencies and employability through SPD’s Employment Support Programme.

Mr Goh commended Darren on his willingness to step out of his comfort zone, “Darren’s positive attitude, perseverance, and hard work play a vital role in keeping him employable.”

Learning a new skill can open up new possibilities for work. Check out these training resources on SG Enable’s Disability Employment website, and learn more about the enhanced ODP Training Grant.