KUALA LUMPUR: The Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF), which collects monthly levies from employers, has kicked off a programme to retrain retrenched workers with the unused portion of their contributions which is expected to reach RM300mil.
There will be six major programmes under this pilot project which includes the setting up of an outplacement centre for retrenched workers, plus training and replacing foreign workers with Malaysians.
Employers contributing to HRDF, however, have objected to the programme, saying that the unutilised funds should be returned to them so that they can decide the right training for their workers.
However, HRDF chief executive Datuk C.M. Vignaesvaran said the programme would lead to job opportunities for retrenched workers, unemployed graduates and other Malaysians to fill various positions in the aviation, hotel and retail sectors.
“The programme will roll out as several companies from the aviation, retail and IT sectors have already approached HRDF.
“It is not the case of teaching someone to fish and then leaving him at sea. We have asked these companies for a promise of employment,” he told The Star.
Citing the “Train and Replace” pilot programme which started on March 28, he said employers from the retail, aviation, oil and gas, and hospitality sectors had been selected to replace 115 foreign workers with Malaysians.
He said four courses had been approved to provide specific skills for local workers.
Among the courses identified are Certificate in Retail, Abridged Helicopter Commercial Pilot Licence, Certified International Welding Inspector, and Professional Certificate in Animal Husbandry.
The 1Malaysia Outplacement Centre pilot programme, on the other hand, will help 200 retrenched workers to find placement in either the same or different sectors.
The Outplacement Centre pilot programme will begin on April 18.
The “Train and Replace” and 1Malaysia Outplacement Centre programmes are both targeted to run in May this year.
HRDF said the Outplacement Centre aimed to train 3,000 workers while the “Train and Replace” programme would train 7,000 workers annually.
Vignaesvaran said ultimately, the aim was to bring down unemployment, reduce the country and employers’ dependency on foreign labour for skilled jobs, and equip Malaysian workers with specific skills needed by the industries.
Other major programmes, which HRDF plans to carry out with the unutilised portion of the levy, include SMEs up-skill and re-skill programmes, the 1Malaysia Globally Recognised Industry and Professional Certification Programme (1MalaysiaGRIP), and the certification or value-added programmes.
Since June last year, 30% of the total levy payment by HRDF-registered employers has been placed in the 1MalaysiaGRIP fund.
To date, there is RM100mil under the 1MalaysiaGRIP fund, which will be used for the various programmes.
Effective April 1, any unutilised portion of the 30% levy collected monthly from registered employers for 1MalaysiaGRIP has been moved to a common pool.
Vignaesvaran said employers need not worry as they could still utilise the remaining 70% to conduct training tailored to the needs of their companies.
“We will continue to engage with the industry to ensure the system benefits everyone,” he added.