COMMENT BY V.K.CHIN
GIANT retailers have started recruiting graduates and diploma holders as management trainees under a programme brokered by the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry.
This scheme is not solely aimed at providing employment opportunities for fresh graduates but also to open their minds to other fields in the private sector.
Almost all those involved studied various courses and have a university degree or college diploma not connected with retailing. Though the number involved is not big it has one very important difference.
Hitherto, many of them would always apply for jobs connected with their tertiary studies and would not look for work outside of their respective fields.
If they should fail to secure employment, they would prefer to stay at home.
The longer they do this, the more difficult it will be for them to get jobs, and it will be a waste of manpower so long as they remain idle. Few of them, if any, would have considered work in retailing or the service industry.
In any case, many of the giant supermarkets would not be taking in graduates and diploma holders in technology or science.
This mindset has to be changed, and credit must be given to the minister, Datuk Shafie Apdal, for convincing the retailers to provide training for such graduates.
He also had to persuade unemployed graduates to take up such offers. Initially, 500 of them would be in the programme and another few thousand more would be given the same training over the months.
The hands-on experience will expose trainees to all aspects of the retail business, and after six months they would have a thorough grounding in the workings of a supermarket.
They can continue to work for their companies, and those who are not inclined to this business can opt out.
The advantage of this training is that the good ones would be able to climb the corporate ladder.
Or they can start their own business ventures in a related field with the experienced acquired with their present company. They will definitely have the confidence and the know-how to strike out on their own.
As for capital, this can always be arranged with the financial institutions; and there are many such organisations, and even the Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development Ministry, to help such budding businessmen.
With more graduates coming out of public and private universities, employment will be a big concern.
Many of them are applying for government jobs requiring only SPM qualifications because of better pay due to the recent pay increase and security.
With unemployment staring at them, they have become more realistic, and to start at the bottom as police constables, fire fighters or prison guards – jobs not meant for those with tertiary education.
Many of them, however, are still reluctant to work in the private sector and do so only as a last resort or have been given the impression that, as graduates, they should be given management positions.
It is believed that training agencies approved by the Human Resources Ministry to provide soft skills to unemployed graduates were told that the graduate trainees should not be doing sales when on attachment.
It seems that they should be given only administrative duties, probably in keeping with their academic qualifications without having to soil their hands.
It is such restrictions that could have given them the wrong impression that they were made for bigger things.
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