SPM graduates should know how TVET can increase their employability and help them on a path to professional achievement
The most recent crop of graduating students from the 2019 SPM exams, performing better than those of the previous year, with the national average grade (GPN) recorded at 4.86 for 2019, compared with 4.89 in 2018, shows that Malaysian students are excelling in terms of education and knowledge acquisition.
Currently, a total of 389,498 candidates who had sat for and passed their SPM 2019 exams are now beginning to determine their professional destiny, including careful planning on how and where to continue their studies.
Some universities and fields are now on their to-do list, with the goal of pursuing a successful career after graduation.
Many will encourage SPM postgraduate students to take Technical and Vocational Training and Education (TVET) as TVET can provide the foundational skills for a broad range of career choices in the job market in the future.
SPM postgraduates are also encouraged to take Technical and Vocational Training Education (TVET).
Students should not disregard TVET as an option because the skills acquired in the many disciplines in TVET offers and opens up many job opportunities, thus making them the hottest graduates in the market.
In line with the Government’s Shared Prosperity Vision 2030, TVET is one of the enabling forces that contributes to the development of a prosperous and inclusive nation.
Raising productivity levels
The German-Malaysian Institute (GMI) produces graduates with high marketability.
TVET educational institutions such as the German-Malaysian Institute (GMI) offer technical training that can produce graduates with high marketability.
The managing director of the German-Malaysian Institute (GMI), Prof Ir Dr Azmi Hassan, said that since its establishment in 1992, the institution has now introduced more than 10 TVET-related programs based on German technology, particularly in mechanical and electrical disciplines and fields.
“SPM graduates have many opportunities to continue their studies at GMI. To date, GMI has produced more than 12,000 graduates in these fields.
“GMI is also offering a preparatory program to help graduates further their studies at German universities. GMI has sent over 1,200 students through the program over the last 10 years.
"Hence, we offer an industry-relevant program called the German Dual Vocational Training (GDVT), in which we work with industry professionals, especially German companies in Malaysia," he said in a recent interview with mStar.
Azmi said the concept of GDVT focuses on 70 per cent practical training in the industry and 30 per cent is theory learning at the institution.
In addition to the credibility of co-curriculars adapted from Germany, Azmi said the machinery and equipment provided at GMI are industry-appropriate.
“It makes it easier and faster for graduates to adapt to the professional environment. The industry does not need to retrain and graduates are ready to meet the industry's expectations.
“Thus, they help companies increase productivity quickly. This is because delivery time is very important in the industry,"he said.
Azmi sees challenges in the growth and evolution of TVET but explains that there are optimum solutions for keeping the program relevant.
“We see from the current trend of GMI graduates and diplomas, that they subsequently opt to pursue higher education.
“Perhaps one of the reasons is that the number of technicians is relatively low in the industry. So the challenge is that if the pay is fair or has a better value, I think they will continue to enter the labour market.
“Therefore, I recommend that the payroll rate for technically-skilled graduates be increased. And if we are able to work closely with institutions and industry, it will be an opportunity for students to be in the industry early, ” he said.
Through the involvement of the local workforce, he said, this would reduce Malaysia's dependence on foreign workers.
The managing director of the German-Malaysian Institute (GMI), Prof Ir Dr Azmi Hassan. Photo by ART CHEN/ The Star
Additionally, he explained that well-educated local students could face the challenges of Industrial Revolution 4.0 (Industry 4.0).
"Their skills will improve the technology and help the integration of new technologies in the industry, and productivity will increase rapidly," he said.
Industry market demand and boosting the labour market
Meanwhile, the president of the Malaysia Automation Technology Association (MATA), Tiong Khe Hock, said the M&E field contributed greatly to the country's economy, and is important to industry, especially the manufacturing sector.
"Malaysian companies are moving towards Industry 4.0, as they rely heavily on the support of machinery and equipment to reduce manpower," he said, adding that the M&E field is among the nine major sub-sectors under the Nexus Productivity initiative mandated under the Government’s Malaysian Productivity Blueprint (MPB).
The talented young generation helps companies grow productivity faster.
On TVET, Tiong said there was a demand from industries, but there were difficulties in terms of skilled supply.
“Many MNCs are having difficulty filling some of their skilled positions involving machinery and equipment, such as technicians.
"With the initiative through Nexus Productivity, collaboration between government agencies and industry associations can be enhanced," said Khe Hock, who also serves as the Working Group Leader: Talent and Labor in the Nexus Machinery and Equipment Productivity initiative.
According to him, the group is partnering with the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) to develop the Industrial Skills Framework for the M&E sub-sector.
The president of the Malaysia Automation Technology Association (MATA), Tiong Khe Hock. Photo by ART CHEN/ The Star
Meanwhile, Tiong said industry players had given feedback that because they have little choice but to train workers including university graduates, a pilot program would help industry players greatly with this challenging part of integrating graduates into their workforce.
"If we have trained and experienced pioneer graduates, the time for training will be reduced. This pilot program is where they study and work with companies at the same time.
“I see a lot of potential especially in the M&E industry that requires more workforce. Many skills are needed in dealing with Industry 4.0 such as mechatronic, automotive and robotics.
"I feel there is a great demand among young people to make this a career choice," he said, as he is also serving as a member of the Executive Committee of the Machinery and Engineering Industries Federation (MEIF) which has a network of nearly 6,000 companies in the M&E industry.
There is a great demand among young people to turn their industry-ready skills into a successful career.
Although the cost of hiring foreign workers is lower, he said, companies need to recognise that productivity is a priority.
“If companies hire more skilled local workers, I think they can raise productivity and help boost the technically-skilled labour market.
“In fact, in terms of career development, we also see local workers have the opportunity to become engineers and managers in the future.
"With the passage of time, additional experience and education gives them many opportunities to grow to higher levels," he said.