Microsoft’s special mentoring scheme — the APAC Enabler Mentorship Programme — which focusses on making people with disabilities (PwDs) in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region more employable, has now been extended to nine more countries from the earlier five.
Under this programme, PwDs with special abilities will receive mentor-based career coaching, according to their area of specialisation. Microsoft has tied up with various NGOs to train these PwDs in software as well as technical skills, and later place them in jobs, especially in the IT sector, across APAC.
So far, over 7,000 people with special abilities have been successfully trained.
Mentors play a significant role in assigning PwDs roles in various units basis their acquired skill sets over a period of one year. They will also be imparted skills on preparing for and attending interviews, which will help them find jobs, with support from their mentors.
Initially, the programme was tried out in five markets, in collaboration with six non-profit organisations and 14 employer partners in 2020.
Now, the programme has expanded to Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, South Korea, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.
According to Pratima Amonkar, board chair of Microsoft Diversity & Inclusion, and head of APAC cloud & AI business strategy, “This programme is that crucial next step to improving diversity in hiring across Asia Pacific region and a way to be the voice of inclusion and commit to inclusive hiring at a time when the pandemic has been hardest on marginalised communities.”
So far, more than 7,000 people with special abilities have been successfully trained by Microsoft. The IT company has conducted more than 150 hours of disability-inclusive hiring workshops with the participants.