PUTRAJAYA: The perception towards technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in Malaysia has improved over the past few years, and is no longer seen as a "last option" in career choices, says Khairy Jamaluddin.
The Youth and Sports Minister said the public has grown to realise the potential of TVET due to its importance to a developing nation and its high employability level.
"In conjunction with the 2010 National Youth Day, the Malaysian Youth Council launched the 1Youth 1Skill (1B1K) programme to help youths get involved in skills training programmes and select TVET as a career choice.
"At that time, society's perception was that TVET is only for those who didn't complete Form Five, those who were expelled from school or those who have been sent for juvenile rehabilitation.
"But today, the public have changed their mindset towards TVET. They do not see it as a second or last option in one's career choice.
"People acknowledge that products of technical and vocational education are highly employable and have an easier career path.
"The Government recognises TVET graduates as assets to the country that we can be proud of.
"Graduates of the National Youth Skills Institute today have a 90% employability rate, which means nine out of 10 graduates will definitely get a job.
"Compare this to degree holders, who cannot land a job after graduating. Why? It's because their courses are not tailored to the demands of the industry.
"Those who pursue TVET in Malaysia are assured that their training is in line with what the industry wants," said Khairy in his speech at the fourth 1B1K convocation on Tuesday.
He said Malaysia should emulate developed countries like Germany, Japan and South Korea where TVET is given top recognition.
"These are countries that are more developed than Malaysia and are well-advanced in technology, ahead of others. They make TVET a priority in their education system.
"In Germany, nearly 60% of the students are in the vocational and technical stream. The country's economy and advances in automative technology are spearheaded by the successes of TVET graduates.
"Malaysia should emulate these countries. And that is why the Government has invested a lot in TVET. The last budget saw RM1bil allocated to enhance the quality of TVET," said Khairy.
He said 4,967 youths have received skills training at public and private institutes since the 1B1K programme was launched.
About 500 youths received their certificates at the convocation ceremony.