UM students to undergo internship at SMEs

PETALING JAYA: Thirty-five third-year students from the Computer Science faculty at University Malaya will begin six-month internships from next month at 30 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the Klang Valley.

This programme is a collaboration between networking giant Cisco Systems Inc, the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) and University Malaya. MDeC is guardian of the nation’s MSC Malaysia initiative.

The students are currently undergoing the Cisco Certified Network Associate curriculum. The collaboration is a pilot called the Cisco Industrial Training Programme (CiTP) to match university education with real-world needs.

CiTP will give the students real-world experiences with software development and information technology service providers, some of which are MSC Malaysia-status companies.

Muhammad Imran Kunalan, general manager of the K-Workers Development Department at MDeC, said that skilled networking personnel must grow by 14% per year until 2012 to satisfy the country’s workforce needs.

He declined to say how many networking personnel were available now in Malaysia. But, he said, there are more than 18,000 in MSC Malaysia companies as at 2009.

“The quantity of personnel is there but as far as the quality is concerned, there are some challenges. The whole idea is to get students out of the university labs into real-world business situations. This is crucial for fresh graduates,” he said.

Muhammad Imran said the interns will be supervised by senior management from the SMEs that they are affiliated with.

“Prior to the stint, there will be an intensive two-week course by networking experts at the university,” he added.

Anne Abraham, managing director of Cisco Malaysia, said the students need to understand what it takes to design a network and also know the technical requirements of a business.

“This initiative will boost the employability factor of the university graduates,” she said.

Muhammad Imran said some job opportunities may result from the internship, adding that the organisers hope to make the programme an annual affair.

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