Boost for Malaysia's socio-economic initiative

  • News
  • Monday, 24 Jul 2017

Standing tall: Norashikin received a lot of positive feedback after presenting SL1Ms initiatives at a UN forum.

Delegates impressed with collaboration between the public and private sectors

THE Jalur Gemilang flew high and proud outside the World Convention Centre at The Hague, Netherlands, as the United Nations (UN) recognised Malaysia as one of the leading change agents in graduates’ marketability programmes, addressing issues like unemployment, poverty and lack of skilled workforce.

Representing the country was Norashikin Ismail, the secretariat head of 1 Malaysia Training Scheme or Skim Latihan 1Malaysia (SL1M), a socio-economic upliftment initiative introduced under the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) of the Prime Minister’s Department.

Norashikin was invited and sponsored by the UN to present the outstanding initiatives under SL1M, which have helped address various socio-economic issues, particularly the youth unemployment rate, which stands at 10.7%, three times higher than the national unemployment rate. The findings were presented at the UN Public Service Forum 2017 that was held on June 22-23.

The forum was a platform for decision-makers to share their strategies and innovative approaches as well as the valuable lessons learnt in the process of mobilising public institutions and public servants towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The overarching theme of the forum was “Public Service Innovations from around the world to leave no one behind”. The forum was divided into eight parallel tracks. Norashikin participated in track one on job creation and prosperity, where she shared about SL1M’s effective ways in handling and promoting job creation, decent work opportunities and prosperity.

Apart from addressing a high youth unemployment rate, the initiative reflects the Government’s commitment to achieve a high-income nation status by 2020, which essentially means better quality of life, better wealth distribution, better growth opportunities and higher living standards. SL1M ensures that there are equal opportunities for poor rural and urban youths to be part of the economic development ecosystem.

SL1M’s milestones

Since its inception in 2011, SL1M has aided over 125,000 young graduates in enhancing their employability through soft-skill and on-the-job training which is offered in partnership with government-linked companies (GLCs) and the private sector.

Norashikin said, “the delegates at the forum were especially impressed and surprised to learn about how involved the private sector is with SL1M. Because, many of them find it rare or not so simple for collaboration to occur between both the private and public sectors within the nation”.

SL1M has steadily assisted graduates both directly and indirectly through its “Outreach Programme” or “Search and Assist Programme”.

“I am so thankful for this golden opportunity to share what SL1M has done and receive such positive feedback from various countries participating in this forum. More so, it is such a blessing to help disadvantaged Malaysians get opportunities to succeed and improve their circumstances,” Norashikin said.

How graduates and companies benefit

SL1M’s Outreach Programmes and Open Interview Programmes include anywhere between 60 and 100 GLCs and private companies offering thousands of opportunities – in various industries – for attendees to grab.

Among the regulars are big players such as Affin Bank Bhd, Axiata Group Bhd (Celcom Axiata Bhd), Boustead Holdings Bhd, CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, Khazanah Nasional Bhd, Kumpulan Wang Simpanan Pekerja, Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera, Lembaga Tabung Haji, Malayan Banking Bhd, Malaysia Airlines Bhd, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd, Malaysian Building Society Bhd, Malaysian Resources Corporation Bhd, Permodalan Nasional Bhd, Petronas, Sime Darby Bhd, Telekom Malaysia Bhd, Tenaga Nasional Bhd and UMW Holdings Bhd.

Forty per cent of the companies participating in SL1M are from the service industry, 16% from finance and investment and 11% from logistics and transport. There are also participating companies from the agricultural, construction, oil and gas, communication and utilities sectors.

Companies have been incentivised to participate in the SL1M programme via double-tax deduction or a HRDF-SL1M incentive which allows them to claim for expenditures incurred in the training of graduates.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak also encouraged public-listed companies to take part in SL1M as this would put them on the priority list when securing government contracts.

Furthermore, SL1M serves as a meaningful form of corporate social responsibility that enables companies to improve the economic status of fellow Malaysians while grooming future leaders and skilled members of the workforce. It’s a full circle as these trainees then make up the talent pool that companies require for their own expansion.

This way, companies not only gain access to SL1M’s participants’ database to find the right candidates for their training programmes, they also save on hiring and retraining while eliminating the need for external recruitment experts to find the right fit for the organisation.

At the end of the day, it’s a win-win situation for graduates and corporations.

Social collaboration

As corporations handle the technical training aspect, SL1M has assisted tens of thousands of graduates directly and indirectly through their motivational, outreach, and soft-skills training that are carried out in collaboration with partner organisations.

The soft-skill programmes guide graduates to improve their confidence, competence, communications, resume skills and professional appearance.

Leaderonomics – a social enterprise driven by the desire to transform the nation through leadership development – is one of the partner organisations which has taken a lead in empowering undergraduates with soft-skills that will help them secure potential employment opportunities.

The Leaderonomics’ Campus team has been part of SL1M’s roadshows, offering a free “CV Clinic” that helps improve students’ curriculum vitae (CVs) while building their confidence to face employers during job interviews.

These nationwide roadshows have garnered tremendous support from over 300 participating companies and have witnessed great turnouts from students, graduates and job-seekers.

The recent roadshow in Kuala Lumpur saw some 50,000 attendees while the ones in Sarawak and Kedah had over 20,000 and 25,000 attendees, respectively. Last weekend’s roadshow in Sabah attracted a crowd of more than 10,000 people.

“For SL1M Sabah, if an applicant secured a job and needs to move out of their hometown (especially to the Peninsular), they can claim transportation cost (flight tickets, etc) from either the companies or SL1M. Applicants need to get certified letters from authorities in their respective hometowns stating that they are unable to fund themselves,” said Norashikin.

The turnout for the roadshows dispelled the myth that young graduates were apathetic or lackadaisical about their careers and future as graduates enthusiastically flocked the event to meet potential employers.

There is also an Open Interview Programme 2017 at every roadshow. Upcoming programmes will be at Melaka International Trade Centre (MITC) in Ayer Keroh, Melaka (Aug 26 to 27) and Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI) in Tanjung Malim, Perak (Sept 23 to 24).

More opportunities ahead

SL1M’s coffee table book ‘Faith’ is chock-full of stories of graduates who have been given a chance by companies which have taken them under their wing and allowed them to find their rooting ground through SL1M programmes.

The recognition from the UN has opened up opportunities for knowledge exchange with other nations while opening up more room for participation by interested national and international stakeholders.

The team says they are deeply encouraged not only by their experiences in the Netherlands but also by seeing young graduates become hopeful and empowered – being able to help themselves and their families.

Norashikin affirmed SL1M’s commitment in helping the most impoverished and disadvantaged Malaysians break their glass ceiling.

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