WHEN Norian Mohd Yusuf arrived at the doorsteps of the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) in Kuala Lumpur as one of 14 pioneers to attend the culinary and bakery course sponsored by HSBC Bank Malaysia Bhd, she was very nervous.
“However, the teachers and students were understanding and quickly put me at ease,” said Norian at the graduation ceremony held recently.
Norian, the third of eight siblings, left her home in Bahau after Form Four to try her hand at a factory job in Malacca but quickly found herself frustrated by the lack of opportunities for growth. Her Felda settler parents understood her frustrations and made enquiries on her behalf
When the Welfare Department at Bandar Baru Serting near Bahau recommended the programme at the YWCA Vocational Training Opportunity Centre (VTOC), Norian jumped at the chance. Father Mohd Yusuf and mother Siti Ajal are now delighted that Norian can be self-employed.
“She is now independent,” her father said proudly.
VTOC Board of Management chairperson June Yeoh said: “The culinary and bakery course run by Legend College of Tourism & Hospitality and Legend Hotel had been specially developed to empower vocational students to be self-employed,” she said.
Now in its sixth year, VTOC enables women and girls from marginalised sectors to be trained to achieve their full potential through acquiring income generating skills.
VTOC's computer, secretarial and basic accounting course organised and supported by Raffles Education Group's Olympia College is another popular choice among school leavers.
One student who opted for this programme is Lira Bah Alang, 19, who hails from the orang asli village in Kg Chang, Bidor. The youngest of three children, Lira first heard about the VTOC courses from a friend.
Her mother Wak Riong said: “Lira has completed her computer and secretarial studies. My hope is that she will be offered a job not too far away from my village.”
Another popular course is the VTOC Kindergarten Teachers Training Programme.
Thilagavathy Arason, a former clerk, loves to work with children and has signed up for the programme.
Her lorry-driver father Arason said: “I am very proud of Thila. Being slightly disabled, she is very shy but her self-esteem has grown since she took up the course at VTOC. I would like her to be independent and prefer that she moves away from Slim River and works in Kuala Lumpur.”
VTOC also conducts a sewing and tailoring programme for those interested.
“Our training programme is holistic and incorporates aspects like leadership, social issues, laws and legislation on women and children, values, etc. Our aim is to prepare the course participants to fully contribute to their community upon graduation,” said Yeoh.
“Those who wish to give our fully-trained students a chance at employment may call YWCA VTOC at 03-2026 7753. Our graduates, especially those from East Malaysia, are in great need of employment,” she added.
YWCA depends on donors to run their programmes which cater to some 70 to 80 girls and young women from all over the country.
Currently, major donors include Malaysian Community & Education Foundation, Rat Race 2004, Kuok Foundation Berhad, Miller Insurance Services Ltd, HSBC Bank Malaysia Bhd, Teh Siew Lin, and Lee Foundation. All donations are tax-exempted.
The YWCA VTOC is now inviting applicants with a minimum Form 3 qualification for its 2005 programmes.
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