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Jobseekers’ Diaries: I took a leap of faith into the special needs sector and have no regrets

In this instalment of Jobseekers’ Diaries, Ms Isfarzana Putri Isfarizal, 22, describes how securing a traineeship with the Rainbow Centre charity amid a trying job market gave her the opportunity to venture into the special needs sector.

Jobseekers’ Diaries: I took a leap of faith into the special needs sector and have no regrets

Ms Isfarzana Putri Isfarizal decided to pursue her passion in the special education sector, where she plans activities for children with special needs at a student care centre.

Isfarzana Putri Isfarizal

As jobs are a top concern for Singaporeans in the Covid-19 crisis, TODAY’s Voices section is publishing first-hand accounts from jobseekers in which they reflect on their experiences and what keeps them going.

In this instalment of Jobseekers’ Diaries, Ms Isfarzana Putri Isfarizal, 22, describes how securing a traineeship with the Rainbow Centre charity amid a trying job market gave her the opportunity to venture into the special needs sector. 

Although 2020 was a trying year for most fresh graduates, it was a defining year for me as it marked the beginning of my career working with the special needs community.

My interest in wanting to serve the community began in 2016, when I took part in ChildAid, a yearly charity event, and had my first interaction with people with autism and Down syndrome.

Since then, I have been involved in other charitable causes such as the President's Star Charity and Very Special Arts, and travelled to Indonesia and Cambodia in 2019 to teach children from less fortunate backgrounds. 

With these experiences, I was certain that I wanted to embark on a career helping those with special needs, rather than do something related to my studies in maritime business at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE).  

I took a break after graduating from ITE in May 2019 and worked part-time in retail. 

It was only early last year that I started my job search in the midst of a bleak job market after the Covid-19 pandemic hit. 

I decided to cast my net wide, applying for five full-time positions and a traineeship, all in the special needs sector, via the national job portal MyCareersFuture.

It was not easy as most employers were looking for diploma holders and those with experience in the sector.

I was afraid and unsure because this was something I wanted to do, but I was not certain if I was capable enough or if I would even be afforded a chance to give it a go.

The traineeship that I applied for was at Rainbow Centre, which was seeking a care facilitator. I knew that matched my interests.

After what felt like an eternity, I finally secured the position and joined in October last year.

I was over the moon to be able to start this journey after more than eight months of searching for a job.

As a care facilitator, my role is to plan activities that will meaningfully engage children with special needs at a student care centre. 

To do this well, I have to understand each student’s interests and communication preferences.

For example, I have a student who struggles to manage his emotions when he gets overwhelmed or upset. 

Once, when he showed signs of aggression, I decided to give him space and he ended up apologising to me. Seeing him progress and display maturity warmed my heart and made me realise how gratifying my work is.  

But I know that I have barely scratched the surface of understanding persons with special needs. 

I hope to continue learning and doing my part to create a more inclusive society.

I have no regrets taking up the traineeship, which is set to end in July. 

I believe one must take a leap of faith and pursue one's passions, even though this might sound daunting. 

I would advise fresh ITE graduates to embrace the sea of possibilities that come their way.

ABOUT THE WRITER:

Ms Isfarzana Putri Isfarizal, 22, graduated from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) with a Higher National ITE Certificate in Maritime Business. To pursue her interest in the special needs industry, she took up a traineeship at Rainbow Centre as a care facilitator.

If you are a jobseeker with an experience to share or know someone who wishes to contribute to this series, write to voices [at] mediacorp.com.sg with your full name, address and phone number.

Related topics

Jobseekers' Diaries Traineeship Jobs special needs special education

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