We all have goals and dreams. For some, achieving these dreams may be just a little harder, and take a little longer than others. One young woman shows us what it means to be the architect of her own happiness – to chase her dreams fearlessly. Meet Florence Hui, a 21-year-old pursuing her passion in retail at UNIQLO, who teaches us a thing or two about never giving up.
Growing up with Intellectual Disability
At the tender age of 7, when most children are learning to ride a bike or jump rope, Florence was diagnosed with intellectual disability. This, for her, meant needing more time to learn and getting used to the momentum of new activities. A saying goes ‘fall down seven times, stand up eight’, and that’s exactly what Florence did. Through her passion and never-say-die attitude, she graduated from the ASPN Delta Senior School with a Work Skills Qualification (WSQ) certification in retail operations. A Valedictorian of her batch, an esteemed member of The Purple Symphony (a local all-inclusive orchestra), an Athlete Leader with Special Olympics, this young girl can do it all (and then some!)
Getting a step closer to her dream
Studying in APSN Delta brought Florence a step closer to her dream of working in retail. She was first introduced to UNIQLO Singapore through their retail training space in her school. During this training, she felt intrigued by the clothing displays and retail culture and realized that this might just be her calling. She joined the Work Experience Program and let her passion lead the way. Her positive attitude scored her the gig. “I was over the moon when my trainer came and announced that I’d been selected for the program,” she says.
The journey with UNIQLO
On her first day, Florence was up before sunrise. “I recall being filled with energy the night before as I was putting together my work attire for the day,” she says. Stepping into a new job with new colleagues was intimidating, but Florence was quick to adapt with the support and help of her trainers and work buddies. She recalls, “Throughout the training, I was taught different skills that a retail staff requires, from the preparation of stocks to attending to customers’ queries.” As she gained more confidence and independence in the training, she soon unlocked another milestone. She was offered a permanent position in the store, with the responsibility of managing the stockroom and running the sales floor.
The job came with its challenges. Florence struggled to attend to inquiries from Mandarin-speaking customers. When she was overwhelmed, she would approach her work buddies for help. They would patiently help her break down the tasks into simplified steps. She also found her own way to de-stress. “At home, writing about my daily experiences in my diary and playing the guzheng calm me down”, she says. On working in an inclusive environment, she shares that her team “treats me just like any other colleague”, allowing her to carry out her daily tasks without being reminded of her disability. She adds, “Knowing I have the support of my colleagues whenever I face difficulties at work keeps me motivated and really boosts my confidence.”
Do you know someone who is neurodiverse at your workplace? How have you helped make your workplace a more inclusive one? With your support, kindness, and acceptance, we can all do our part to give everyone the opportunities they deserve to fulfill their dreams and succeed in life!
Credit: Article adapted from Zula.sg