KUALA LUMPUR: The new and improved National Service Training Programme (PLKN) has been launched, with a focus on equipping trainees with job skills that could help them in the real world.
After a year in hiatus, the programme, relaunched as PLKN 2.0, boasts an upgraded set of modules aimed at keeping it relevant, with skills that the trainee can utilise in the future.
Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said that PLKN 2.0 had been revamped to make it more streamlined and compact.
"The programme is now spilt into two phases, with the first and mandatory phase lasting for eight weeks compared to the previous programme's twelve," he said to a press conference at the programme's launch near KLCC Sunday.
He was accompanied by Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
He explained that in the first phase, trainees would go through eight modules aimed at promoting unity and providing them with life skills.
The eight modules are "Fit4Life", "Tech + Talk", "Malaysiaku", "Be Safe, Be Alert" and "iUpgrade", "Spirituality", "MyFuture" and "Service Learning".
Hishammuddin said after the first phase, trainees would be given the option to proceed with phase two of the programme, which focuses on technical skills.
"These include courses in the automotive, hotel and tourism, transportation and logistics, construction, agriculture, forestry, fishery, and manufacturing sectors.
"Depending on the courses selected by the trainees, the second phase can take three to 24 months to complete," he said.
Hishammuddin said that the second phase was important as it could help youth who do not have the opportunity to go into universities have a better future.
He said the pilot batch for the new PLKN 2.0, which was held between September and October last year, showed encouraging results with 108 trainees opting to go into phase two.
Other improvements in the new programme include smaller classrooms and a better-integrated teaching approach.
Hishammuddin said there was overwhelming number of applications for new the National Service intake this year – which was voluntary – with 66,000 applications for 20,000 spots.
"We were only able to accommodate that many because of the current economic climate," he said.
Hishammuddin also said that he hoped that 80% of the 20,000 trainees would opt for the second phase of the programme.
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