ALC banks on education in a corporate environment to better prepare students for the working world, writes JOY LEE.
TEACH a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Such is PKT Logistics Group’s approach to its corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts. Chief executive officer Datuk Michael Tio believes CSR programmes should be sustainable so that they can be impactful to the society.
“Companies should focus on sustainable programmes. One of the best ways to ensure sustainability is to invest in education,” said Tio, adding that education is one of PKT’s five pillars of CSR efforts.
In 2012, PKT acquired ALC, a small college in Klang with about 800 students. Tio preferred to invest in a full-fledged college that would be able to provide quality education instead of just handing out funds and a few scholarships that would benefit only a few.
Once the college was under its belt, Tio ventured into setting up a corporate campus where students will be able to learn, not just in the classroom, but also in the marketplace itself.
“People complain that graduates are not ready for employment. After they are hired, companies send them for three-to-six-months’ training. But then, employers are afraid that they’ll be pinched after they are trained.
“So, the best solution is to improve education. We considered how best to create employable graduates and realised the best way is to teach them in a corporate environment. This brings the education and corporate sectors closer together. It’s not easy, but we can match them because we have both the education and corporate side,” Tio explained.
PKT set up an ALC campus within its hub in Klang, which has a capacity of 400 students and offers two-year diploma programmes in business, accounting and logistics, with an option to extend another two years for a degree. Intake is limited to 100 students a year.
Tio said ALC had to change the way lessons were delivered at the new campus so that the learning process did not just revolve around theories.
At ALC, students are given the opportunity to work part-time at PKT’s warehouse to have a feel of an actual work environment. PKT also welcomes students who work part-time in its finance and human resource departments so that they can gain relevant experience in the field.
“We had our ‘Anak Belajar Ibu Bekerja’ (ABIB) programme in which mothers from the surrounding area earned some money by working shifts at PKT while their children went to school, and was back home by the time their children finished school. The programme was very successful so we decided to extend it to the students at our campus to gain working experience while they are studying,” said Tio.
He also explained that the campus at PKT’s hub provided students with a controlled environment that was conducive for them to learn and grow.
“Most times, parents might not be ready to let their children stay on their own after Form 5. We are giving them a campus environment, but we don’t offer boarding for the students. So students can still stay at home and grow up with their family. I think it’s the right environment to grow up in,” he opined.
Additionally, ALC is doing its best to foster a positive culture for its students.
Tio said that students were taught entrepreneurship, honesty and to give back to society among other things, through the college’s various projects and efforts.
For example, the student-run Lighthouse shop enables students to hone their entrepreneurial skills as well as provide them with a platform to learn to be better entrepreneurs since they are also dealing with PKT’s workforce.
There is also the “Honesty Corner” – small convenience corners where patrons are trusted to put money for their items into cash boxes – which helps foster honest culture.
Students have access to PKT’s Sky Gym, Sky Spa and Sky Deck, and this enables students to interact with working adults in PKT.
“We are grooming them to be not just good employees, but also to be useful to the society. And we want to groom them properly,” he added.
Tio hopes to expand the corporate campus concept to its hub in Penang once construction is completed.