Year starts on a positive note

Government and companies rally to help graduates get jobs through SL1M programme

DID you know that the unemployment rate among youth (aged 25 and below) is the highest of all age groups in Malaysia?

According to a research report published by Malaysian Industrial Development Finance (MIDF) last year, the youth unemployment rate in 2016 was at 10.5%, which translated to about 273,400 jobless youths.

In 2017, however, this improved as the youth employment rate rose by 0.2%, which saw an increase of employed youth by 46,700. This could be due to several factors such as government initiatives to help unemployed graduates, the creation of more jobs in the country, and a workforce that is becoming increasingly educated.

At the launch ceremony of Skim Latihan 1Malaysia’s (SL1M) open interview programme (central zone) on Feb 24, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan echoed this in his speech when he said: “More than 2.26 million jobs have been created between 2010 and 2016, of which 700,000 are high-skilled jobs.”

There to launch the event at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS), Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said in his speech: “Last year, we experienced a GDP growth of 5.9%, among the highest in the world. When our economy is strong, more business opportunities arise, and consequently more jobs are created.”

Nationwide impact

One government agency that has been consistently helping the nation decrease youth unemployment, is SL1M.


Reaching to more: Norashikin hopes to help more than 25,000 graduates this year and also ensure they get a good job to support their families.
Reaching to more: Norashikin hopes to help more than 25,000 graduates this year and also ensure they get a good job to support their families.

Incepted in 2011, SL1M is a training programme which aims to help young graduates who are unemployed and underemployed. The programme – conducted in collaboration with government-linked companies (GLC) and private companies – helps graduates enhance their marketability with soft skills and on-the-job training for up to 12 months.

Last year, SL1M conducted open interviews across Malaysia – Kuala Lumpur, Pahang, Sarawak, Kedah, Melaka, Perak and Sabah – which drew a large number of eager job seekers of all ages, abilities, socio-economic statuses and backgrounds.

To-date, more than 144,000 graduates have been directly and indirectly assisted through the programme.

According to Najib, all GLCs and private companies that are partnering or have partnered with SL1M, have invested a total of RM2bil into the programme since 2011.

“This not only positively impacts the graduates, but also boosts the socio-economic statuses of their families,” he said.

What’s also interesting to note is that SL1M secretariat head Norashikin Ismail was invited by the United Nations to the Netherlands and South Korea last year to share about SL1M’s initiatives on an international stage. Representatives from countries such as Oman, Sri Lanka and Colombia were impressed by the impact created by SL1M and are hoping to apply the SL1M module in their respective countries, Najib said.

Due to the huge success of SL1M, the government has allocated RM40mil for SL1M to run its roadshows this year. Najib also announced that the allowance for SL1M trainees will be increased from RM1,500 per month to RM2,000.

Economic Planning Unit (EPU) director-general Datuk Nik Azman Nik Abdul Majid said the government agreed to increase the allowance to accommodate the rising cost of living, to motivate students, and to set a benchmark for a graduate’s first income.

Norashikin added: “The allowance increase for all trainees will officially take effect from Mar 1, 2018 onwards.”

Companies with big hearts

Norashikin admitted that it was a challenge to get companies to partner with SL1M initially.

“Now, every month, we have about 25 companies wanting to partner with us,” she said with clear enthusiasm.

Some of the loyal partners of SL1M were awarded a much-deserved recognition on Feb 24 for their commitment and investment into the graduates they have trained.

The list is as follows:

2017 SL1M Diamond Employer

- First place: Maybank Group

- Second place: Tenaga Nasional Bhd

- Third place: Permodalan Nasional Bhd

2017 SL1M Silver Employer

- First place: Khazanah Nasional Bhd

- Second place: Lembaga Tabung Haji

- Third place: Petronas

UEM Group Bhd was named the 2017 SL1M Overall Best Employer.

According to UEM Group managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Izzaddin Idris, the company took in 440 SL1M trainees last year.

“What’s important, from the perspective of an employer, is that we should try to help those who have graduated but can’t get a job. Until now (Feb 2018), the allowance for SL1M trainees has been RM1,500. In UEM however, the trainees are given RM1,800.

“What’s important [to us] is that the trainees are proactive and they always complete the tasks given,” said Izzaddin.

Meanwhile, Norashikin noted that Khazanah has the “highest commitment and investment in SL1M” and has taken in 9,380 SL1M trainees between 2015 and 2017. From this number, approximately 76% have received permanent jobs after their training completion.

The company’s strategic human capital management head Latifah Daud said: “Khazanah is a small company which has 460 positions only and so most of the SL1M trainees we train can’t be absorbed into Khazanah.”

She expressed her gratitude to the 1,000 SMEs that Khazanah works with which have helped to provide on-the-job training for their SL1M trainees.

“We have a special programme to help graduates outside of Klang Valley, especially in East Malaysia because it’s harder for them to get jobs,” she added.

In total, the company has spent RM80mil in training and allowances to conduct its SL1M programme last year.

This year, Khazanah is committed to giving opportunities to 4,000 SL1M trainees.

For Maybank Group, chief human capital officer Nora Abd Manaf shared that a combination of their business and non-business ventures (such as their collaboration with SL1M) has led to record-breaking profits annually for the past seven years.

‘What we put in, we will get back’ was the message that she intended to send.

According to Nora, since 2011, Maybank has assisted 1,800 trainees out of which 30% were absorbed as full-time employees while 10% were taken in on contract. What’s worth highlighting about the company’s training module is the recent inclusion of hard skills training such as digital awareness, human-focused solutions and data-driven analytics.

“This is what is needed [for graduates] to remain relevant,” said Nora.

Since its inception in 2011, 70% of SL1M trainees have been absorbed into the companies they were training at, according to Norashikin. The success of SL1M could not have been realised without the collaboration between SL1M, the government, GLCs and private companies.

It takes multiple parties to address Malaysia’s youth unemployment issue. As Helen Keller once said: “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”.

To find out how to implement the SL1M programme into your company, e-mail Visit SL1M’s official Facebook at Skim Latihan 1Malaysia for the latest updates.