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Malaysia Empowering the Future Workforce

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A state-based think-tank organisation advocates a transformative strategy in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) that integrates additional knowledge and training for graduates, specifically tailored to meet evolving market demands.

Chairman Datuk Muhamad Farid Saad proposed that the National TVET Council and the Penang Bumiputera Development Council adopt these innovative strategies, emphasising their applicability to graduates across various states. This proposition aligns with Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s commitment, also the National TVET Council chairman, to fortify TVET education nationwide.

“Penang, renowned for its prowess in the electrical and electronics (E&E) industry, needs more engineers. Despite a surplus of graduates, they often fall short of industry criteria,” stated Muhamad Farid, who is also the President of the Penang Muslim Entrepreneurs Association.

The state government is committed to industrial development, evident in initiatives such as naming a reclaimed island as ‘Silicon Island’ and establishing new factories in the Batu Kawan industrial area. Muhamad Farid asserted that this juncture presents an opportune moment to reassess the involvement of the Malay community in technological advancements.

Addressing the challenges faced by Bumiputera graduates, particularly in electrical engineering, electronics, and mechatronics, Muhamad Farid emphasised the struggle to secure employment, He noted deficiencies in English proficiency, as well as skills and self-confidence, as contributing factors.

Muhamad Farid also suggested extending practical training to six months, compared to the current three-month duration, as a means to better equip graduates for industry demands and enhance their employability.

Image credits: Bernama

In tandem with the Malaysian government’s commitment to elevating TVET, a move is underway to establish a single accreditation body. This strategic initiative, slated for implementation this year, aims to streamline TVET courses, align them with industry demands, and bolster the sector’s overall efficiency, echoing the government’s broader commitment to empowering a skilled workforce.

Recognising the myriad of agencies and TVET providers striving to produce skilled individuals, the Deputy Prime Minister underscores the need for a cohesive and standardised approach. This aligns with the government’s pledge to introduce a sole accreditation body under the 12th Malaysia Plan, introducing a uniform rating mechanism that comprehensively assesses programme quality, including employability and industry engagement indicators.

Historically, TVET certifications faced accreditation from two bodies, but the impending introduction of a single accreditation system, in collaboration with the Malaysian Qualifications Agency and the Labour Department, seeks to create a unified and streamlined process. This aims to reduce bureaucratic hurdles and enhance the efficiency of accreditation procedures.

Stressing the pivotal role of tailoring TVET courses to industry demands, the proposed changes aim to shift the paradigm, ensuring that the industry drives course content. With a focus on high-tech domains like artificial intelligence within the ICT sector, the government signals a commitment to preparing TVET graduates for future jobs, including those related to cutting-edge technologies like electric vehicles.

Noteworthy is the emphasis on securing professional recognition for TVET graduates through the Malaysian Board of Technologists. Positioned as the accrediting body for technological and technical professionals, this move aims to provide a pathway for TVET graduates to gain industry recognition, creating avenues for employers to offer packages in line with the government’s commitment to empowering a skilled workforce.

The transition of entry into TVET institutions from post-Form 5 to post-Form 3, starting March, aligns with the demand for a skilled workforce. The enrollment surge, with 134,000 registrations in June and September, compared to the previous year’s 67,000, reflects the increasing recognition of TVET’s value and relevance, showcasing a changing perception towards vocational education and the importance of skilled professionals.


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