A home baking business, a ring of support

Filmer Tan bakes fluffy chiffon cakes with the help of his family. The story of this graduate from Rainbow Centre Margaret Drive School is one example of how working life may look for students with special needs. 

With the launch of the Vocational Education Teaching and Learning Syllabus on 27 July 2022, the idea of work is expanded, including customised employment, volunteering, and home-based work. Special Education (SPED) schools will also put more emphasis on teaching soft skills for the workplace. 

Here, Filmer shares how he picked up the skills needed for his business and the support he receives.


Filmer 2

Filmer Tan graduated from Rainbow Centre Margaret Drive School in 2019. His love for baking was kindled when his father learnt to bake chiffon cakes with real fruits and taught him how to do likewise. Filmer would bring his cakes for school events or simply share them with his teachers and classmates. Their enthusiastic response spurred him to continue baking.



With the help of Rainbow Centre’s Micro-Business Academy, which introduced him to business fundamentals, Filmer learnt how to describe his business to others and how to use social media. From there, he and his family started Filmer’s Chiffon Cakes so that he could continue baking from home and have a source of income following his graduation at 18.


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As part of an internship with Rainbow Centre’s Seeds Café from 2017 to 2019, Filmer (third from left) learnt from his job coaches how to greet customers, take orders, prepare meals for customers, and clean up.  “Filmer was a natural at making customers feel welcome at Seeds Café. He paid great attention to customers, was alert and attended to their needs promptly,” says his former job coach, Ms Aw Pey Ling (second from left).



Filmer’s family  steps in to help whenever they receive orders. They believe in providing a safe and supportive environment for Filmer to thrive. His father and aunt assist in the kitchen, while Filmer and his mum shop for fruits and packaging materials. “We’re happy to lend a hand and hope that more will support businesses by those with special needs. It really helps to boost their self-confidence,” says his mother.


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As a child, Filmer was diagnosed with Pilocytic Astrocytomam, a rare type of brain tumour, and had to go through several major surgeries. In the kitchen, his limitations with his left hand were overcome by modifying the use of utensils or learning to use kitchen tools his way. He can now perform most of the tasks in the baking process.



Filmer is grateful for the regular flow of orders from friends, family and the public. Publicity is by word of mouth and he has received much positive feedback from customers. Regular customer Rachel Huang likes the range of flavours like pineapple and lychee. “They are exciting and consistently tasty!”

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