The Gamuda Scholarship offers mentoring during the course of study and a career opportunity to participate in nation building.
MANY corporations give out tertiary education scholarships as a way to “give back to society” but for some others, it goes a little deeper than a mere CSR initiative.
In Gamuda Bhd, for instance, its scholarship award is tagged to the organisation’s desire to play a meaningful role in building the nation.
Since the company’s inception four decades ago, Gamuda has been consistently building some of Malaysia’s significant infrastructures, with the latest being Klang Valley’s Mass Rapid Transit (KVMRT).
Having delivered Phase 1 of the Sungai Buloh-Kajang (SBK) Line last December, their partnership in MMC-Gamuda is on track to deliver the entire SBK Line by July 2017.
Meanwhile, Line 2 (or also known as the Sungai Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya line) is scheduled for completion in 2022 to serve as critical urban rail lines in the Klang Valley.
Gamuda was also the prime mover behind the world’s first of its kind dual-purpose tunnel – the Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel (SMART), an award-winning project to manage floods and relieve traffic in Kuala Lumpur at the same time.
In line with the company’s strengths and values, the Gamuda Scholarship Award was positioned as an important talent building initiative to enable the delivery of more breakthrough projects.
Gamuda director of group human resources and administration Lai Tak Ming said that as the country progresses, there is a pressing need to create as much opportunity as possible for young people in the local economy.
The Gamuda Scholarship 2017 will be given to those pursuing Engineering, Quantity Surveying, Township & Urban Planning Architecture, Property & Real Estate Management, Accounting, Business IT, and Human Resource and Psychology, just to name some.
“We support the upskilling of local talent through education and training, and we believe our scholarship is the beginning, serving as a strong foundation to groom successful individuals for the future,” Lai added.
Given how strategically it views the scholarship award in enabling scholars to start well in a holistic approach, Gamuda has in place a “buddy” system that it started three years ago to help scholars get through their time at university.
“We assign a buddy, who is already working in the organisation, to each scholar so that the two can journey together.
“For instance, an engineering student will get a civil engineering buddy, and they will have regular interactions. This allows the scholar to make more informed decisions as the buddy provides a listening ear and offers advice whenever needed,” Lai said.
Lai added that their scholarship feature also includes annual regional workshops coordinated by Gamuda’s Scholarship Working Group to get scholars on par in areas related to soft and cognitive skills.
“We want to encourage them to be analytical and critical thinkers. We noticed there is a difference between local and foreign undergraduates, in areas like public speaking skills, assertiveness, and other soft skills.
“Overseas graduates tend to be more assertive and outspoken given the level of independence and exposure which local graduates don’t normally get. This is a gap that we hope to bridge over time,” he added.
Lai said that another important aspect Gamuda looked into was building a strong “partnership” with their scholars.
“It’s not just about exchanging result slips and paying the allowance. We want them to feel connected to us during the course of their studies so that by the time they graduate, they would have hopefully developed a sense of bonding with Gamuda and to share its values,” he added.
In this regard, Lai is especially proud of Chern Yang Yang, 25, who recently graduated at the top of his class with a degree in electrical and electronics engineering from the University of Bristol, Britain.
The Gamuda scholar is now a systems engineer for the KVMRT project.
“When we offered him the scholarship (in 2013), I had a long conversation with him on the values we would like to see, like the importance of teamwork and accountability which is part of our company culture. Now that he’s back, it is heartening to see that he is so grounded and is embracing the values of our organisation,” said Lai.
If anyone needs further proof that a Gamuda scholarship is different, then they need not look further than Shafizul Faizal Zulkiply.
In 2009, the 33-year-old was offered two scholarships — one from a foreign bank and the other from Gamuda – for a degree in business administration from Universiti Teknologi Mara.
The bank’s offer covered tuition fees and RM10,000 in pocket money each year, without any bond. Gamuda offered a RM6,000 annual stipend that came with a bond, but Shafizul Faizal still went for it.
Currently, he is an assistant manager (transport planning) with Gamuda and is involved in urban traffic planning for the KVMRT lines.
Shafizul Faizal’s career journey as a transport planner is interesting given he is not from a technical or engineering background, but a business graduate.
His work requires him to plan efficient traffic flow around the company’s construction sites, which is a crucial component in any major infrastructure project.
Recounting his experience working on KVMRT, Shafizul Faizal said accepting the Gamuda scholarship turned out to be the right decision.
As the saying goes, “not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted”.
Gamuda is offering more than 40 scholarships this year, up from 33 last year. Apply online at gamuda.com.my/gamuda-scholarship by April 11.