Staff Reporters
Apr 12, 2024

Focus on ability rather than disability, new campaign reminds employers

Initiative led by SPD Contact Centre and agency ABrandADay aims to tackle the underemployment of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) in Singapore.

In the current uncertain business landscape, there is a growing risk of disabled people being left behind. Therefore, the urgency to dispel misconceptions and foster meaningful employment opportunities have never been greater.
This is the objective behind a campaign launched by the SPD Contact Centre in Singapore. Set up in 2022, the centre provides training and employment opportunities for disabled people in the contact centre industry and strives to dispel preconceived notions surrounding employees with physical or cognitive limitations. 
The campaign video centres around a conversation between an SPD Contact Centre employee, Athirah, who was born with low vision due to retinitis pigmentosa, and chief executive of VITAL (Ministry of Finance) Dennis Lui. 
In a thought-provoking twist on the usual status quo, the campaign video was conceptualised to subvert societal norms by conferring authority to the employee. Hence, the video was strategically designed to open with an attention-grabbing statement that directed all focus to the individual behind the screen.
“So do you ever regret hiring me?” quips Athirah, the SPD Contact Centre employee at the start of the video. The idea was to illuminate the often-overlooked heroes behind the SPD Call Centre—the disabled staff themselves.
"I think many employers focus on what the person with disabilities (PwDs) cannot do, rather than what they can do, replies CE Dennis Lui. "But in reality, all of us are unique individuals with great talents and we can bring a lot to the table.” 
The campaign video aims to highlight that if a department of the Ministry of Finance, which supports Singaporeans daily, can entrust its needs to the SPD Contact Centre and didsabled workers, then smaller enterprises and multinational corporations alike can surely follow suit.
“I feel happy because this [campaign video] gives the opportunity to educate people, to show that PwDs can also work in the customer service industry, and at the same time shows how we overcome the challenges when we are doing our day-to-day jobs,” Athirah expressed.
ABrandADay, the agency behind the campaign, say that while ESG isn’t just a corporate buzzword these days, the ‘S’ in the acronym is often forgotten.
The agency feels that 'social' causes are just as important, and this campaign is one way ABrandADay is striving towards a more inclusive society. By dismantling barriers hindering the employment of PwDs, the agency hopes to impact business objectives on both ends, all while doing good.
“I think their voices deserve to be heard. That really stemmed the philosophy of how we even crafted the script, because the truth is, they don’t even feel sad for themselves. Why should the world feel differently?” said Nafe Tong, chief creative officer at ABrandADay. 
Campaign's take: It's good to see a campaign that tackles the issue of underemployment among PwDs by giving them a voice. Too often campaigns of this nature mean well, but don't involve disabled people and come across as patronisingeither framing the subjects as objects of pity or inspirationrather than as just ordinary human beings who want the same rights and opportunities as anyone else. It's encouraging that this campaign avoids the usual pitfalls and delivers a clear message: all of us are unique individuals with talents and abilities we can bring to the table. Disabled people are no different.
Campaign Asia

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