SITizen Buzz

Enabling More Persons with Disabilities for Jobs in Technology Industry

A group of alumni are exploring with SIT’s CLASIC how more PWDs can be trained to code and work with simple apps through Project DUST

 5 Mar 2021
Project DUST
The brains behind Project DUST, Mr Yash Baht (Left), Mr Max Ong (Middle), Mr Jayren Teo (Right). 

Since the start of Project DUST in June 2020 to train persons with disabilities (PWD) to improve their employability, the project’s initiators have successfully helped 8% of the beneficiaries get paid assignments. They are now in discussion with Singapore Institute of Technology's (SIT) Community Leadership Social Innovation Centre (CLASIC) on bringing Project DUST to more PWDs in Singapore. 

The Project was initiated by Mr Max Ong, a Computing Science graduate. Joining him on Project DUST is Mr Jayren Teo, an ex-student of the Electrical Engineering & Information Technology degree programme. The two had met each other at SIT Technopreneurship Club during their student years, and both are now working at Codesurance, a Solution Architect-as-a-Service startup which aims to solve the challenge of technical documentation faced by Companies and Investors.

They later invited Mr Yash Bhat, a Hospitality Business graduate, to be Project Dust’s partnership manager. With a shared passion for creating an inclusive workforce and increasing the employability of the PWDs, the trio aims to equip PWDs with digital skills to create websites with just a drag and drop. A demo day has been added to the Project’s next programme cycle – in the hope that it will serve as a platform to showcase the PWDs’ works, as well as a networking session between employers and PWDs. 

Project DUST is now in discussion with CLASIC – which supports SIT's service-learning or social innovation projects related to the communit – to find ways to train more PWDs. 

Dr Intan Azura Mokhtar, Deputy Director of CLASIC, said it is exploring ways to train some of SIT’s Infocomm Technology students to become trainers for Project DUST in the second quarter of 2021. CLASIC and Project DUST are also looking at working together on a planned project to identify technical skills and solutions to help PWDs, hopefully with some external funding.

Said Mr Ong, “I see a demand for coders in the tech market. As coders, upskilled PWDs can create prototypes for these tech companies, which can then hire developers to build the software.”

He added, “Hopefully , with more funding and support from various institutions, Project DUST would be better able to achieve its long-term goal: expand this model into the global technology market, build a globally inclusive community, and promote workforce equality.”

Project DUST 1st batch of beneficiaries learning about low-code development platform online during Phase 2 of COVID-19.

Project DUST 1st batch of beneficiaries learning about low-code development platform online during Phase 2 of COVID-19.

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