Archive for the ‘Careers’ Category

54,103 Graduates Unemployed Six Months After Completing Studies

Saturday, August 19th, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 17 (Bernama) — A total of 54,103 graduates were unemployed six months after they completed their studies last year, said Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh.

The number was based on the Graduands Detection Survey System (SKPG) which recorded 238,187 finishing their studies last year.

He said courses with the highest number of unemployed graduates were business administration, applied science, human resource management, accounting, arts and social science.

“This number did not comprise graduates from the public universities only but also from the private universities and colleges,” he said in reply to a question from Senator Datuk Ng Chiang Chin in the Dewan Negara today.

Idris said in tackling the issue of unemployed graduates, the Higher Education Ministry had implemented a number of programmes including the Integrated Cumulative Grade Point Average (iCGPA), Two Universities + Two Industries and the CEO Faculty.


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Jobs, positions no longer guaranteed

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Kota Kinabalu: Some 60 per cent of today’s jobs and professions may go extinct in 30 years’ time, including some positions in the public service, said Chief Secretary to the Government, Tan Sri Ali Hamsa.

He said the possibility cannot be ruled out as human evolution has proved through the period of four industrial revolutions that saw the demise of certain employment activities and birth of new ones.

Malaysia has one of the highest number of people employed in the civil service.

“We don’t know how things will be by 2050 but 60 per cent of job positions may become extinct and replaced by new ones. We also don’t know what the new ones will be. We can only guess,” he told 1,200 State and Federal civil servants during the National Transformation 2050 (TN50) dialogue session held at Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), Tuesday.

Ali said bearing such possibility in mind, civil servants must be able to envision the public service for the future in order to be relevant when the time comes.

“What kind of public service we want in 2050? This is why we’re here today. We want to hear your aspirations,” he said.

The dialogue was the second after one held in May in Putrajaya except this time it involved all categories in the State and Federal civil service in Sabah.

Ali and State Secretary Tan Sri Sukarti Wakiman moderated the session that saw active participation from the civil servants.

Among the key concerns highlighted by the participants were on sustainable development, security, education, house ownership, poverty, regional disparity, resilience to natural disaster and combating cyber and commercial crimes in Sabah.

Integrity of civil servants and zero corruption in civil service were also put up on the list as among their top aspirations.

He noted that many civil servants during the dialogue have put environmental sustainability also on top of their wish list for the future of Sabah while acknowledging the committed efforts taken by the current State leadership on the agenda.

Ali said all their inputs will be sent to a government agency to be clustered accordingly and announced by the government later.

TN50 is an initiative to plan for the future of Malaysia in the period 2020 to 2050 as the country strives to be amongst the top countries in the world in economic development, citizen well-being and innovation.

The process involves engaging all levels of the society, particularly youths, to gather their views and aspirations of how they would like to see the country and Sabah in particular by 2050.

by Leonard Alaza.

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Medical grads told to sit for six core SPM subjects and pass BM to get cert.

Saturday, July 1st, 2017

PETALING JAYA: Some medical graduates are frustrated that they need to “go back to school” after being told that they must have Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia-level Bahasa Malaysia to be accepted into permanent government posts.

No more exemptions would be given and some graduates said they were told to register for six core SPM subjects in order to get the BM certificate if they want the posts.

A source said about 300 graduates were affected since the change came into effect on Jan 1. They were from private institutions and waiting for housemanship placements.

Previously, O-Level BM or Bahasa Kebangsaan A (BKA) qualifications were accepted for entry into public service but from this year, those with such qualifications were rejected, according to the affected students.

A graduate, who declined to be named, said he submitted his application for housemanship to the Public Service Commission (PSC) a month after he graduated last August, and after obtaining clearance from the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC), his application was accepted.

But in December, he was told by a PSC officer that he did not pass the screening process to be interviewed for housemanship acceptance because he did not possess “SPM-level Bahasa Melayu or its equivalent” as per the JPA 1/2016 circular.

“The PSC officer told me that the BKA paper I took for my foundation studies was previously accepted as an alternative to SPM BM for public service, but not from January onwards,” he said.

To ease the situation, he said the PSC later relaxed the requirement for medical graduates so that they did not need SPM-level BM for contract jobs – only for permanent posts.

However, when he tried to sign up for the BM examination at the Selangor Education Department, he was told he could not get a certificate for SPM-level BM unless he took six core subjects and passed BM and History.

The other subjects he has to take besides those two are Mathe­matics, English, Science and Moral studies.

The graduates feel it’s like asking them to go back to secondary school.

“This sudden change is very frustrating,” he said, adding that this was in addition to waiting nine long months for housemanship placement since he submitted his application in September.

Another medical graduate who graduated in July last year said MMC and PSC had considered her qualifications complete in August but in December, a friend told her that they would not be able to get an interview with PSC because they did not have SPM BM.

“I called PSC to check and it was true. I asked why they didn’t tell me earlier and they said they did not know things would change,” said the graduate, who declined to be named.

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Top 10 Tips to prepare for a Psychometric Test

Thursday, June 15th, 2017
  1. Find out what the employer is looking for in the right job applicant

    When advertising and seeking to fill a position, all employers want the best person for the job by finding the right applicant. It’s about hiring the person who will best fit the job; from a skills, intelligence, personality and cultural perspective. Psychometric testing results provide employers with a behavioural profile of you – your level of intelligence or aptitude (measured by aptitude tests), and your personality characteristics (measured by the personality test). The profile will indicate whether you can solve problems, are a team player or whether you prefer to work individually, and other relevant attributes.

    So prior to taking the test, pick up the phone and call the recruiter for a chat to find out what attributes the right applicant has. Often you will also find clues in the position description or job advertisement.

  2. Learn about psychometric testing techniques

    Psychometric Tests are not like any other test you’ve ever taken. All too often job seekers assume that if they are good at maths or can speed read in English or have just finished uni, they will blitz the Psychometric Test. This is a wrong assumption. Psychometric Tests aim to measure your abstract, verbal and numerical reasoning skills. These Aptitude Tests are timed and designed in a very unique way. To master these tests you need to add a new set of test taking strategies to your tool box.

  3. Get yourself in good physical and mental shape

    You need to be at your best to produce good results in psychometric testing. Tiredness is likely to severely damage your scores in the Intelligence or Aptitude tests. Make sure you are well rested and try to take decent breaks in between aptitude tests to ensure you regain your energy.

  4. Get to know the types of aptitude test questions

    Familiarising yourself with the typical content and format of psychometric tests will give you a significant advantage. Verbal and numerical Aptitude Test questions are generally multiple choice questions which must be completed in a very short time. These questions can include topics like social sciences, physical or biological sciences, and business-related areas like marketing, economics, and human resource management. The Abstract Aptitude Test is a non-verbal test that uses shapes as test questions. Generally, no specific knowledge of these subject areas is required. Familiarity with the type of test questions will get you a competitive edge.

  5. Practice the Psychometric Tests online

    Prepare for and practice the Psychometric Tests just like you would for any exam or test. Practicing test questions and training your brain to identify frameworks for solving problems will significantly improve your results. The majority of Psychometric Tests are administered online, therefore it is important that you train or prepare for your Psychometric Test using the same medium as the real tests – online.

  6. Find out the type of Psychometric Test questions you need to practice

    Not all jobs get the same test questions. The level of difficulty and complexity of Psychometric Test questions changes based on the job you are applying for. A test for a management position is likely to have more difficult questions than that of an entry role. Ensure you are practicing the right type of test questions for your test.

  7. Plan your time and set milestones

    All Aptitude Tests in the Psychometric Test are timed. On the other hand they are also designed in a way that only 1 – 2% of people who take such a test can actually finish it. Here’s the good news, you don’t have to complete all the test questions to get a perfect score, and easy questions score the same as hard ones. The best strategy is to set milestones and if you don’t know the answer to a question, go on to complete others. If you have time left, you can revisit the harder questions.

  8. Use any tools that are allowed

    Most Numerical Aptitude Tests will allow the use of a calculator and will advise this upfront. If you haven’t used a calculator for a while, familiarise yourself with the different types of operations well ahead of the test. Brush up on reading tables and graphs as well.

  9. Read and increase your English vocabulary

    Start reading a broader section of the newspaper or any industry specific information regarding the job you are applying for to increase your vocabulary. It will help you to grasp Verbal Aptitude Test questions quicker, answer them faster and therefore improve your score.

  10. Be sure not to trigger a lie or fake good scale in the Personality Test

    Most Personality Tests are designed to indicate whether you were consistent in your answers and to what extent you tried to portray yourself in an overly positive manner. It’s fine to make yourself look good. We all do it when we want to get a job. However, ensure that you don’t overdo it as it will cause inconsistency in your answers. Just be yourself and know what set of your strengths you want to highlight.


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Work, Matters! : Remember that you are “selling” yourself, daily

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017
Work, Matters! : Remember that you are “selling” yourself, daily — Shankar R. Santhiram (File pix)

This past week, I have spent my working days at a leading private university in Malaysia.

This institution was established in 1969 by a team of educators to offer the Victorian High School Certificate (VHSC), the first Pre-University programme to secondary school leavers in Malaysia.

And over the past forty eight years, it has grown to become a premier private tertiary education centre. In 2010, it was awarded university status.

Out of one hundred and forty three colleges and universities in the world that participated in the iGraduate Survey in 2013, on student learning experience, this university emerged as the top institution in Malaysia. iGraduate tracks and benchmarks student, and stakeholder opinions, across the entire student journey, from prospective students to alumni.

Being as well established as it is, I was deeply honoured when I was asked to conduct a series of training programmes for their marketing and sales team on enhancing the customers’ experience.

I left university nearly twenty five years ago. And although I was the chief executive of an institution, it has been fifteen years since I moved to corporate consultancy, training and coaching. Being in that rambunctious environment, surrounded by young people who exhibit a palpable vibrancy, made me feel really young, again. It was a thoroughly enjoyable work week.

My focus with this team was to help them understand how they can increase their efficacy as marketers. My sessions aimed at equipping them with the necessary tools towards this end. But to start with, I directed my discussions with them on understanding how they need to market themselves first, effectively, before even promoting their educational services and products.

I explained to them that to live effectively in this competitive global village; to make your goals a reality; and to be real agents of change, you need to interact successfully with others. Marketing yourself is quite simply about learning to communicate why it is in the other person’s interest to interact with you.

It is about your effectiveness in honestly presenting your positive features, the ones that will enhance your relationships in a way that attracts the other person.

And just like selling anything else, when you market yourself, the “hard-sell” has very limited value. Your communication strategy has to be focused on what the listener will find interesting, and by engaging them through what they might be looking for.

Every successful entrepreneur will tell you that the way you speak, the way your walk, your appearance, and the way you carry yourself, all become part of your message. Both the tailored suit or the robust jeans and t-shirt combination, tell a story. Just be sure to decide from the onset, the story you want to tell.

On a daily basis, you need to “sell” the notion that you are a capable and trustworthy person, who will improve your company. You need to show without doubt that you can resolve problems for your employer, and elevate the status of your company.

Here are two most important ideas that I communicated to my trainees this week about how they can “sell” themselves.

Start by asking; what is the fundamental question that every employer wants answers to, at any interview?

“What can this person do for me”? This is the million-dollar question, is it not?

And what do you do at the interview? You will definitely craft the most impressive answer for that question, and you would have practiced the answer hundreds of times, before the interview.

At the interview, when asked, you would have promptly delivered a well-rehearsed narrative.

But to effectively position yourself at work, you need to answer this question daily. And, you are required to respond now, by your actions. You will need to exhibit your skills and abilities. The very same skills you highlighted in your resume, and at the interview. These are the abilities you claimed that you learnt through your work experiences, and education. They need to be apparent to your employer.


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Calling all professionals.

Sunday, June 11th, 2017

WHILE software developer, recruiter, database developer, information security specialist, data analyst, corporate tax specialist, payroll specialist, business intelligence consultant, regulatory specialist and marketing research specialist, are LinkedIn’s “top 10” most-in-demand talents, those interested in traditionally-popular fields also have reason to be optimistic. Many crucial areas like medicine, engineering and accounting, are still thriving.

And, according to Malaysian Employers Federation executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan, the sales and marketing, hospitality, food and beverage line, are also hiring. He, however, says job seekers are reluctant to enter the sales and marketing profession, viewing the job as too demanding, especially with the need for English proficiency.

Multilingual talents for contact centres and customer service roles are also much-sought after, as are HR professionals to help companies map long-term growth plans, he says. Meanwhile, companies involved in ICT, IT-enabled services and business process outsourcing, education and manufacturing, will continue filling key positions.

“With new manufacturing hubs in Negri Sembilan, Johor and Penang, supply chain management experts well-versed in automation, process improvement, industrial engineering and research, are needed.”

And, with financial institutions strengthening their governance structures, positions to manage anti-money laundering activities, sales and regulatory compliance, are opening up, he adds.

“New rules and regulations for financial institutions are being introduced, so, there’s a greater demand for risk managers and compliance professionals.


With only 7,000 over medical specialists, including 4,000 in the public service, there’s an overall shortage of specialists. It’s not just the numbers that’s the issue, but the need to maintain the high standard of specialists. On a positive note, there’s a fair distribution of these specialists nationwide.

The key now is to ensure that specialists remain in the public sector to impart their skills and knowledge to the next batch of experts. The Health Ministry and universities must continue sending their trainees for attachment and specialised training overseas. We should also utilise private sector expertise to train future specialists.

Association of Specialists in Private Medical Practice Malaysia president,

Dr Sng Kim Hock

We have more than 6,500 clinics and some 7,000 GPs equally spread out in the urban and rural areas. There are too many GPs. And now, with the government absorbing only the top 40% – 50% of new doctors who complete their four-year contracts in the service, there will be a huge spillover to the GP sector. Plus there’s an influx of overseas­-trained doctors. The existing moratorium on new medical colleges is a temporary solution. Unless issues of oversupply of doctors, and encroachment of private hospitals and diagnostic centres in primary care are addressed, the concept of family practice and personalised care envisioned by the Health Ministry will only be a dream.

The ministry should build more hospitals and create more posts. Medical schools must have their own teaching hospitals. And young doctors should be encouraged to explore avenues like lecturing, research and other non-clinical areas.

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Those in prestigious professions still a sought-after lot.

Sunday, June 11th, 2017

PETALING JAYA: Traditionally prestigious professions still have it – those in these jobs remain sought-after today, although their counterparts in the digital industry are in high demand.

Despite talk of a glut, medical specialists, accountants, engineers, architects, clinical psychiatrists, psychologists, pharmacists and dentists are still much needed in the country.

A check with the relevant associations revealed that these professionals are crucial for Malaysia to achieve developed nation status. These roles are vital in ensuring affordable, quality service, especially healthcare, for the people.

On the other hand, the manufacturing, wholesale and retail, and finance and insurance sectors may have too many workers. Thanks to disruptive technology and the challenging economy, these industries (which were last year’s top retrenched fields) continue to see an oversupply of workers. There are also too many general practitioners, especially in urban areas.

The Critical Occupations List 2016/2017, which covers 10 key sectors in the country, underscores the need for accountants, engineers and tertiary level educators.

This time around, however, lawyers – who were on the COL 2015/2016 – have been removed from the list, meaning they are no longer considered to be “critically needed”.

Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said social media experts were now much sought-after as many businesses strengthened their social media platforms to become more sales-driven.

“Multi-faceted social media professionals who can create, edit and write content, drive engagement and awareness, and manage advertising campaigns to drive sales, are wanted,” he said.

And, with a growing number of large-scale cyberattacks including the global WannaCry ransomware which infected more than 300,000 computers in 150 countries last month, it’s no surprise that cybersecurity experts are high on the wanted list.

Organisations need such professionals to safeguard their IT operations, Shamsuddin noted.

LinkedIn talent and learning solutions vice-president (Asia Pacific and Japan) Feon Ang said the rise of the digital economy created a strong demand for tech-related roles such as software developer and information security specialist.

But with the high demand and talent shortage, companies must build a strong employer brand to attract the industry’s best, she said.

“Retaining and developing existing talent by helping them acquire new skills to keep up with the evolving needs of the digital economy is equally very important,” she added.

Employers, however, value soft skills more than work experience, Shamsuddin said.

“A candidate may have extensive experience and stellar qualifications but they’re of little value if their soft skills are lacking.

“Employers will look at what motivates the candidate and how they can effectively and efficiently communicate with the team if hired,” he said.

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Learning how to speak properly is important

Friday, May 19th, 2017

Being articulate is a crucial skill in Putrajaya, especially for those who head ministries, government departments and agencies. File pic.

BABY babble may sound cute. We laugh in delight whenever a baby starts to coo and make unintelligible sounds.

But, if left unattended, the baby may have a rough road ahead learning to speak clearly when he gets older, and adults around him may have a tough time trying to decipher his strings of alien sounding words.

As new parents, we have been told by our elders to use proper and clear language when talking to babies instead of baby babble no matter how cute it sounds. The need to master the ability to speak clearly does not only apply to babies, but adults, too.

Most adults do not have speech impairment unless they have some form of oral defect or issues with their voice box.

Being articulate is a crucial skill in Putrajaya, especially for those who head ministries, government departments and agencies.

This writer has covered enough events at the administrative capital in the past five years to witness all sorts of people with articulation issues.

There are those with such a soft voice that even if you place a voice recorder near to the person’s mouth, it can barely capture what he is saying.

When this happens, the frustration on the journalists’ faces is obvious as we know it will be tough to write the article later, with our bosses breathing down our necks, rushing us to meet the deadline.

Besides the soft spoken people, journalists also have to deal with those who have problems putting their thoughts and views into words or sentences for the laymen to understand.

Such speakers also tend to be long-winded, trying to impress listeners with their speeches that are longer than 30 minutes and peppered with jargon

Dealing with such characters is enough to make reporters reach for painkillers to numb the headache as we write the article.

Things go from bad to worse when journalists have to deal with people who enjoy using words and terms that do not exist in the dictionary, in sentences that are confusing, jumping from one subject to another all in one breath.

Once we have picked up our jaws from the floor, we cringe at the task of having to file in an article that our bosses and readers can comprehend when we have trouble understanding it.

For us in the English media, we often have to translate speeches from Bahasa Malaysia to English since Bahasa Malaysia, as the country’s official language, is widely used here in Putrajaya.

On rare occasions, we are spared from translating when speeches are in English, but another thing rears its ugly head — the atrocious pronunciation.

My brain has to do an acrobatic act just to figure out what the person is trying to say because their diction can sometimes be monotonous, sounding similar to the tone when one delivers a speech in Bahasa Malaysia.

I do not expect the speakers to sound British or American, but they should correctly pronounce English words.

A word, if pronounced wrongly, can mean another thing. For example, the word “bow” (bau) refers to the action of bending downward or to incline, while “bow” (bo) refers to a knot with two loops and two loose ends.

Pronunciation is so important that when I pursued my degree, I had to take a class on speaking skills. We had fun learning about it.

I was intrigued by what comedian Harith Iskander shared during a National Transformation 2050 dialogue session with the prime minister and those in the entertainment industry on Wednesday night.

Harith called on his fellow compatriots not to be afraid of the English and Chinese languages if they want their career to go beyond Malaysian shores.

“If you want to move forward, don’t be afraid of the English and Chinese languages,” he told more than 300 movers and shakers of the entertainment industry.

The same call should be made to those in Putrajaya.

Mastering English or Chinese will not make you any less Malaysian, but will instead give you a competitive edge.


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Graduates put their best face forward

Monday, May 15th, 2017
Cashing in: The LCD screen on a taxi in Xian city displaying an advertisement on cosmetic surgery for high school students. The screen reads, ‘First-year high school students’, followed by a phone number.

Cashing in: The LCD screen on a taxi in Xian city displaying an advertisement on cosmetic surgery for high school students. The screen reads, ‘First-year high school students’, followed by a phone number.

ACADEMIC certificates no longer guarantee graduates a good head-start in the workforce. Most Chinese youngsters believe that their future is very much determined by their appearance.

“Undergo cosmetic surgery before seeking a job”, “Earn a living with your face” and “Face value is justice” have become catchphrases among school-leavers in recent years.

“There is nothing wrong with achieving a different look. Nobody would not want to be beautiful,” Internet user Piao commented on a Baidu chat group.

“Studying hard and behaving well are no longer the only core duties of students. They must also learn to maintain a good look to prepare for the working world,” another responder wrote.

There is a trend in China where students rush to change their looks during the long summer and winter holidays.

Industry players are more than happy to cash in and have launched “attractive packages” specially catering for students during these seasons.

Among the popular treatments favoured by students are hyaluronic acid and botox injections. Only about 40% of them opt to go under the knife.

But what is disturbing is that those who seek cosmetic surgery for beautification purposes are getting younger each year.

According to the National Health Report 2016 by, China’s biggest online consultation platform on health subjects, among those who sought its advice on cosmetics-related issues last year, 6% were secondary school students.

“Some eight million Chinese have undergone the knife to change their appearance and about half of them were students,” Chinese Association of Plastics and Aesthetics vice-president Wang Yongan told

About 80% of them were women below 30, who spent on average between 5,000 yuan and 10,000 yuan (RM3,145 and RM6,290) for a new look, he added.

When I was in Xian, an ancient capital in Shaanxi province where Qin Shi Huang – the first Emperor of China – built his empire more than 2,000 years ago, I spotted taxis displaying advertisements on cosmetic surgery for high school students on the LCD screen on top of the vehicles.

Li Jie, a tourist who alighted from one of the taxis, said she did not have the courage to alter her look but would not discourage others from doing so.

“I have read news reports on many failed operations and I’m scared. Furthermore, I’m married and have a steady job,” said the woman in her late 20s, who is helping with her husband’s bakery business in Nanjing.

“But I don’t deny that cosmetic surgery is an investment, especially for those who want to enter the entertainment industry or marry a gao fu shuai (tall, rich and handsome – referring to a man perfect in every way).

“It’d be good if everyone could just have confidence in himself or herself, keep clean and be presentable, but that’s not the reality,” she added.

According to statistics, an average of seven million students graduate from higher educational institutions in China annually.

This year, China will see the passing out of a record high of 7.65 million graduates locally. Plus the 300,000 hai gui, a term referring to those who completed their studies and returned from overseas, there will be nearly eight million fresh faces with high academic qualifications in the labour market soon.


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Produce talent, not graduates

Saturday, May 13th, 2017

Noor Kamilah Barvin Mohd Meera’

LIFELONG learning has always been Noor Kamilah Barvin Mohd Meera’s priority as there is a need to keep up with change to advance in one’s career.

“Employers seek talent. One must be skilled to be employed. Unskilled employees will drain the resources of an organisation,” said Noor Kamilah.

“We have been producing a lot of graduates, not talent. For that very reason, I decided to enhance my skills by pursuing the Master in Human Resource Management programme.”

Noor Kamilah is of the opinion that one need not follow the standard route of pursuing a diploma course, followed by a bachelor’s and master’s degree courses, all before the age of 25.

“It is not as simple as that. Theory without practice is a waste. That is why I chose to work and gain experience and exposure before furthering my studies,” she said.

“We can’t deny the importance of upgrading knowledge and skills through lifelong learning. It is useful not only for one’s career but also in making life decisions and when starting a business.

“Lifelong learners can contribute to society in many ways.”

Education counsellor Mohd Zahir Abdul Rahman said lifelong learning helps the workforce adapt to any environment.

LIFELONG learning has always been Noor Kamilah Barvin Mohd Meera’s priority as there is a need to keep up with change to advance in one’s career.

“Employers seek talent. One must be skilled to be employed. Unskilled employees will drain the resources of an organisation,” said Noor Kamilah.

“We have been producing a lot of graduates, not talent. For that very reason, I decided to enhance my skills by pursuing the Master in Human Resource Management programme.”

Noor Kamilah is of the opinion that one need not follow the standard route of pursuing a diploma course, followed by a bachelor’s and master’s degree courses, all before the age of 25.

“It is not as simple as that. Theory without practice is a waste. That is why I chose to work and gain experience and exposure before furthering my studies,” she said.

“We can’t deny the importance of upgrading knowledge and skills through lifelong learning. It is useful not only for one’s career but also in making life decisions and when starting a business.

“Lifelong learners can contribute to society in many ways.”

Education counsellor Mohd Zahir Abdul Rahman said lifelong learning helps the workforce adapt to any environment.

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