Turning students into handyworkers

Knowledge sharers: Voo (fourth from right) and her team members giving the thumbs up for their initiative.

Grant empowers youths to equip peers with basic electrical skills

ELECTRICAL outlets and appliances are prone to wear and tear.

While one can hire an electrician or handyman to attend to the damage, services for basic repair and maintenance may not always be readily available.

Recognising the problem, eight students who are pursuing the electrical technology programme at Keningau Vocational College (KVC) in Sabah came up with the idea of organising a workshop to teach college students how to safely and properly inspect and repair electrical outlets, such as sockets, and basic home electrical appliances, including light bulbs and fans.

The 18-year-olds specifically targeted college students who are renting their own places instead of staying with their families or in dormitories.

“Many young adults lack basic electrical knowledge, such as how to change light bulbs, because its importance wasn’t emphasised when they were younger.

“As a result, they may put their lives at risk if they don’t handle electrical appliances with care,” team leader Alleyson Voo told StarEdu.

Recently, the students managed to turn their community project idea into reality, thanks to an RM500 grant they received from the 2024 Amal Fund.

“Our teacher Dr Mohd Sirhajwan Idek informed us about the fund and encouraged us to apply for it.

“He is the mentor for most of our college projects and believed that we had a chance of winning the grant,” said Voo.

She added that despite their teacher’s support, her team – comprising Claijster Christian, Glenn Nichles, Vincent Frankie, Nadiirah Naquyyah, Nur Effanddy Ramadhan, Evangelson Glorius and Danniel Imannuel – kept their hopes low.

“Imagine our surprise when we received the notification of our win from the patron Nurul Amalina Che Ariffin herself.

“We were on cloud nine for the rest of the week! We are extremely grateful to the Amal Fund for the opportunity and support to carry out our workshop,” said Voo.

Having received the notification on March 18, the team went on to conduct a one-day workshop titled “Be Your Own Handyperson” at KVC on April 27.

The workshop began with a briefing on basic electrical tools and appliances, followed by live demonstrations and hands-on activities. As a staunch supporter of youth volunteerism, Voo described the workshop as a golden opportunity for her and her peers to give back to the community.

“Community service enables us to acquire additional learning experiences beyond our classroom walls and standard curriculum. This is why I always feel the need to pursue more ways to give back to the community,” she said.

Agreeing, Sirhajwan said community projects such as this give students real-life experience in interacting with people outside the classroom and tackling obstacles like adults.

“These projects improve not only their soft skills, but also their resilience. We should integrate youth volunteering and community work into our education system to connect classroom learning with the real world and cultivate empathy among our youth.

“This can help them become young leaders who independently and proactively drive positive transformational changes in our society,” he said.He added that winning the grant demonstrates the students’ ability to put their education to good use.

KVC director Nordin Akup congratulated the team on their initiative, adding that it highlights the practical value of vocational skills.

He expressed hope that more students will initiate or participate in community projects to improve their soft skills and technical expertise.Voo advised students who want to initiate their community projects to start with small goals.“This will eventually lead you to achieving bigger goals.

Experiment with small-scale projects before refining, expanding and scaling them up,” she said.Voo’s team is one of four winners of the Amal Fund, which was initiated by Nurul Amalina, a United States-based Malaysian, to support community projects in Malaysia led by young leaders aged 10 to 25.

Nieha, 21, a student in Melaka, is a participant of the BRATs Young Journalist Programme run by The Star’s Newspaper-in-Education (Star-NiE) team. For updates on the BRATs programme, go to facebook.com/niebrats.

With the theme of the article in mind, carry out the following English language activities.

1 Besides basic electrical repair and maintenance, what are three other life skills that college students living on their own may benefit from learning? Discuss with your friends and rank the skills in order of importance.

2 If you could conduct a workshop to teach a skill to members of your community, what skill would you choose? How would your community benefit from learning this skill?

The Star’s Newspaper-in-Education (Star-NiE) programme promotes the use of English language in primary and secondary schools nationwide. For Star-NiE enquiries, email starnie@thestar.com.my.

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BRATs , Star-NiE , vocational education


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