KUALA LUMPUR: VTAR Institute is looking to tackle the national skilled worker shortage headfirst through the launch of its new Wireman PW4 training programme.
The new programme will provide students with a further specialisation in the field of electrical wiring through classes that cover more complicated topics compared with the institute's existing Wireman PW2 training programme, which only covers up to a single phase that is usually used in residential homes.
New skills taught will include three-phase wiring installations, which are used in powering large commercial and industrial facilities.
Former deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon, who launched the programme, said that additional up-skill Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programmes would be the key to increasing the number of skilled workers in the country.
"While most developed countries' skilled workers comprised 54% of their total workforce, Malaysia is lagging behind heavily with only about 16% of the workforce being skilled workers.
"This is worrying as investors may find it difficult to operate in the country due to being unable to obtain skilled workers needed for their Malaysian operations.
"PW4 electricians in particular are in high demand as they are the key in ensuring the facilities of major industries continue running as normal.
"As such, this new TVET programme will be vital in up-skilling the electrician workforce in the country to keep up with rising labour demand as our country shifts from an industrial-based economy to a knowledge-based one.
"It will also help to promote the practice of lifelong learning among the people," he added during his speech at the launch of the new programme at VTAR Institute campus in Kuala Lumpur Monday (March 27).
Also present was Malaysia Energy Commission deputy director electric competency unit Azalina Hassan, VTAR chief executive officer Tan Cheng Liang and VTAR board chairman Soon Mon Huay.
The new programme, which has been approved by the commission, will see students undergoing 12 months of training, including attending lessons at the institution with two practical tests in a model house for three months before undergoing six months of industrial training under an Energy Commission-registered Electrical Contractor.
Students will then return to study at the institution for three months and take their final tests before graduating from the course after which they will be awarded two Malaysian Skills Certificate (SKM) that can be used to find a job, according to Tan.
Tan added that loans, scholarships and sponsorships by industry players will also be available for students, especially for those from low income or B40 families.
The programme is open to all Malaysian citizens so long as they possess a single-phase wiring certificate of competency from any recognised institute.
Applicants must also have completed Form 5 or have an SPM certificate, at least 20 years old and above, and not colour blind.
Classes will have a maximum limit of 25 students and the programme's first lessons are expected to begin around September this year.
The institute also offers TVET courses in other disciplines which are electronics, aesthetic services, hairdressing, bakery and furniture technology.