BeST grads get hired

Well done: Chang (centre) presenting a plaque to industry player Mohd Nizar Alias. Looking on are Bioeconomy Corporation chairman Dr Lee Boon Chye (far left), Mohd Khairul Fidzal (far right), and Science, Technology and Innovation secretary-general Datuk Dr Aminuddin Hassim (fourth from left).

TO date, the BioAgrotech & BioPharmaceutical Employability and Entrepreneurship Specialised Training (BeST 2.0) programme has seen the placement of 192 graduates in 25 biotechnology and bio-based companies under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP).

The programme, implemented by the Malaysian Bioeconomy Development Corporation (Bioeconomy Corporation) through the BioAcademy initiative, aims to “place-train-hire” graduates as knowledge workers in the biotechnology and bio-based industries.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Chang Lih Kang, in a press release, said he is confident that BioAcademy programmes such as BeST 2.0 can contribute to increasing job opportunities and reducing unemployment, while promoting modern technology application and rapid economic growth in Malaysia.

Such programmes, he added, will lead to the country producing more knowledgeable workers as well as competitive bio-entrepreneurs who are ready for the global market.

“BeST 2.0 aims to place 600 graduates in high-knowledge and high-income jobs in the biotechnology sector under the 12MP.

“The success of BeST 2.0 is a positive step towards closing the skills gap between local graduates and the workforce, which is a common challenge in the biotechnology and bio-based industries in Malaysia.

“This programme is also poised to form a highly skilled workforce that can fill in the vacancies in biotechnology and bio-based industries, in line with the National Biotechnology Policy 2.0, which is aimed at developing an efficient and adaptive workforce and talents for the biotechnology industry in Malaysia,” he said at an appreciation dinner for BeST 2.0 participants and industry players on July 18 in Cyberjaya.Its chief executive officer Mohd Khairul Fidzal Abdul Razak said the solid collaboration between Bioeconomy Corporation and biotechnology and bio-based companies is crucial.

“For the first BeST 2.0 intake in 2021, these host companies absorbed 93% of the graduates as permanent employees.

“The great support provided by industry players, including BioNexus Status and Bio-based Accelerator companies, made it easier for Bioeconomy Corporation to successfully match biotechnology and bio-based graduates with the skills and academic qualifications required in these industries,” he said, adding that collaboration and implementation of BioAcademy programmes will be expanded to train and produce more young bio-entrepreneurs who can commercialise biotechnology and bio-based research outputs in local and global markets.

This, he said, would create more job opportunities in technology-based industries.

Through the BeST 2.0 programme, local and international graduates and graduands are placed as apprentices in biotechnology and bio-based host companies, including those in the bioagriculture and biopharmaceutical sectors. The participants undergo training related to soft and technical skills, as well as industry work experience for six months before they are offered permanent positions either in the placement companies or in other organisations.

Forty-four graduates, under the second intake of BeST 2.0 which began in March this year, are currently undergoing work placements at their respective host companies until this month.

The third intake, which started in July, attracted 45 graduates who were trained at Rekascape, Cyberjaya, for a month before being placed in host companies.

The fourth recruitment of 40 graduates received work placements this month.

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