The future of youths in technical and vocational training
By Patricia Hului
A perfect life map laid out by our parents or teachers would look like this: go to school, get a degree, get a job.
It does sound like a bulletproof plan, but most people do not expect there to be one big hiccup along the way which is that it’s hard to get a job nowadays!
Do you know there are currently 200,000 unemployed graduates in the country?
That is not including who have finished their Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), certificate programmes and diplomas.
Director-General of the Department of Skills Development (DSD) Datuk Dr Pang Chau Leong admitted that it was not an easy problem to tackle.
“I’m not sure I’m the right person to answer this but it is a big challenge,” he said when asked during Sarawak Youth Forum 2016 at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) on Apr 9.
“It is like scoring a goal where the goal post is always changing. You can always plan on how many graduates you can produce in four or five years’ time.”
But then the demand of the industry is always changing.
“By the time someone graduates, if you are unlucky, the job opportunities will shrink.”
So what does the industry want?
Pang cited Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak when he tabled the 11th Malaysia Plan last year that in progressing towards an advanced nation, Malaysia will need more high skilled workers.
“In the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP), there will be 1.5 million jobs created and 60 per cent of them require TVET-related skills.”
TVET is technical and vocational education and training, covering a wide spectrum of occupational fields, production services and livelihoods.
“Therefore, the government would like more students to pursue education in technical and vocational training and be trained and qualified.”
Pang stated this field now comprises only 25 per cent of the workforce.
“The plan to enable industry-led TVET aims to boost this workforce to 35 per cent, at par with academic and professional graduates.”
Thus, it is expected for the annual TVET intake to be increased.
“There is a need to increase its annual intake of SPM leavers into TVET programmes gradually to 225,000 in 2020 from 164,000 in 2014.”
According to Pang, DSD’s survey results showed that more than 90 per cent of all skilled graduates are employed.
“You may think what we are doing are second or third class. This is part of the nation’s framework.”
The industries need TVET including machinery and equipment, transportation, packaging, printing, chemical, building and constructions, landscaping and environmental and so on.
Pang, who also sits on the board of directors in institutes such as Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM), German-Malaysian Institute (GMI) emphasised the need for university graduates to be equipped with skills as well in order to keep up with the industries.
“Of course we still need graduates coming out from university. But we are saying not to just concentrate on that.”
He added, “I’m not saying that a university qualification is useless – it is important – but it does not guarantee you a bright future.
“There are universities which offers degrees and in the same times allow the students to have skilled certificates.”
One suggestion is to take short or part-time courses in TVET while pursuing a degree.
Overall, Pang advised the 2,500 youths who attended the forum to know their interests first and research where they wanted to go.
“But make sure the colleges or training institutes that you choose are accredited ones,” he said. “You have many opportunities that people do not have in the past.”
The speaker also suggested the youths sign up for SLDN or National Dual Training System.
“It is a programme offering employees a workplace-based training whereby 70 per cent of the learning happens in the company and the rest at the TVET centres.”
Pang drilled the youths on not continuing to be ignorant and not continuing to be left out.
“The youths nowadays have a bright future, provided they have the skills that the industries want.”
For more information on TVET in the country, visit DSD’s official website at http://www.dsd.gov.my/index.php/en/.
Sarawak Youth Forum is organised by Tabung Ekonomi Gagasan Anak Bumiputera Sarawak (Tegas) in collaboration with the Malaysian Youth Parliament Members.