Launch of TomoWork

The TomoWork launch in a crowded large event space. A large life-sized TomoWork standee is positioned by the entrance.
TomoWork SG (9 to 20 Sep 2019) is a co-working platform to illuminate the talents of persons with disability (PWD) and gather insights on innovating inclusive and effective workplaces for all.

This groundbreaking Singapore-Japan partnership, chiefly organised by Sumitomo Life (a leading insurance company in Japan) and supported by Bridge+, Trifam, and DBIC, officially kick-started with a bang on 9 Sep 2019 at Bridge+! Tomo ‘友‘, meaning “friendship” in Japanese, epitomises the spirit of this pioneering initiative and partnership with Singapore. Welcoming 15 PWDs, three main speakers, and over 30 public attendees, the call-to-action of co-creating solutions for inclusive PWD employment is resoundingly clear. Makito “Mike” Momota, TomoWork Team Leader who is also Head of Digital Innovation Lab Tokyo, Sumitomo Life, drove home the point:

“We are determined to make a positive difference to people’s lives and this TomoWork initiative is a very important one, especially for the PWD community.”

We also had the privilege of hosting Alfie Othman, CEO of raiSE Singapore, as our keynote speaker. With great empathy and enthusiasm, he emphasised the compelling need to include and engage PWDs as equal, deserving team players in the workforce. TomoWork is changing that narrative and building on existing efforts championed by stakeholders in the community, as much more can still be done.

Over this two-week period, the 15 PWDs and corporate stakeholders are engaging each other closely in dialogue and focus group discussions to innovate on hiring, retaining, and advancing PWDs in any given work environment. Each PWD possesses his/her own unique set of gifts and talents, and we should actively engage them at their core strengths, while ensuring that adequate support is provided.

Anusha, one of the 15 PWDs who is visually challenged, quipped, “Why should the visually impaired be restricted to only three types of jobs in Singapore?” (Namely, F&B, masseuse, and telemarketer.)

PWDs may come in all shapes and sizes, but they too have their own aspirations and dreams. They deserve as much room to grow as their non-disabled counterparts. TomoWork espouses the same affirming ideals of building a work environment that truly caters to the interests and abilities of PWDs.

To that end, TomoWork recognises technology as a key enabler and accelerator, bridging many gaps between the disabled and non-disabled. For one, accommodations are not always complex and costly. It could be as simple as providing a height adjustable table or providing soft copies for screen reader users.

Participants will also be involved in the first-ever Singapore trial of Oton Glass, a set of smart glasses designed to help those with visual impairment with reading using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. A highly anticipated feature is that it could capture documents in front of you and tell you what it says.

Ultimately, any amount of effort integrating PWDs would go to waste without an accessible working venue. We are delighted that Bridge+, a leading CapitaLand co-working hub, has graciously partnered and provided us an official venue to spearhead this initiative.

With growing collective and sustained efforts by invested PWDs, employers, and stakeholders, full PWD work integration is a reality in sight.

We continue our exciting conversation on fostering inclusive and diverse workplaces with our curated panel discussions on 17 Sep – centered around Hiring, Retaining & Engaging PWD Talent! Registrations is open!

#TomoWork #TomoWorkSG #Diversity #Disability #Inclusion

See more of Jacqueline’s works here!

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