TECHNICAL and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) graduates are highly sought after and parents and students alike should not shy away from this field.
Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik said the employability rate of local polytechnic and community colleges reached a record 96% in 2018.
“(This is) a marked improvement from the year before,” he said during the certificate of collaboration signing ceremony between the Education Ministry and four industry partners on Wednesday.
The industry partners are Berjaya Corporation Berhad, Tropicana Corporation Berhad, Naza Group and Top Glove Corporation Berhad.
Maszlee’s speech text was read by Education Ministry deputy secretary-general for strategic planning Datuk Kamel Mohamad.
Although there has been a rise in employability rates, Maszlee said more needs to be done to attract more students to the TVET sector.
“We have embarked on many efforts to raise the standard of TVET in Malaysia,” he said.
These include the setting up a TVET Empowerment Committee to make TVET the “career of choice” among Malaysians and working with the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) and Skills Development Department (JPK) to create a single quality assurance system for TVET, he said.
“We need to be future-ready and world class,” he said, adding that they also want to be industry-driven like in Germany and China.
He said that the ministry is going to increase the number of TVET programmes and courses on offer.
He added that only 5.6% of students, which is around 22,000, enrolled in TVET programmes in 2018.
“Industry-driven TVET is key because it needs to be the primary choice for students,” he added.
Maszlee said this certificate of collaboration marks the next large step between the public and private sector to “take TVET to the next level.”
“The ministry is committed to establishing more ground-breaking partnerships.
“We are speaking with key companies across all economic sectors,” he said.
During the ceremony, Berjaya Corporation Berhad chief executive officer Datuk Seri Robin Tan Yeong Ching said expanding partnerships such as this should help ensure the sharing of industry knowledge and practices, facilities and technology.
However, it is not enough for students to have the right knowledge related to their field.
“They must also develop soft skills such as communication and interpersonal skills, as well as the right attitude in order to secure jobs and advance in their careers,” he added.
To this end, he said, Berjaya Corporation views this collaboration with the ministry as a “smart partnership” to enable students from polytechnic and community colleges to obtain internships and career opportunities with the corporation.
Naza Group chief strategy officer Azrul Reza Aziz said this collaboration will enable the company to facilitate and provide industry expertise in terms of curriculum development related to the relevant sectors.
Tropicana Corporation Berhad Marketing and Sales and Business Development managing director Ung Lay Tin said: “Tropicana is thrilled to share in this endeavour, sharing our venues as training spaces, opening doors for opportunities for real-world work experience and creating relevant joint training programmes.”
Top Glove Corporation Berhad manufacturing and operations adviser Datuk Dr Andy Seo commended the Government on their initiatives to reduce unemployment rates and provide a better space for highly-skilled local talent.
He also said that the company hopes to recruit at least 1,000 TVET talents, crucial to their expansion plans, next year for jobs in their Malaysian factories.
The collaboration will see both sides working together to provide training, access to facilities, workshops, career opportunities and networks for TVET students.