Archive for the ‘Careers’ Category

Enhancing employability skills with CIMB talent trail 2017

Sunday, April 16th, 2017

EVER wondered how it is like in the corporate world with deadlines to meet in numerous different projects — some running in parallel — and a mish-mash of personalities to work with to pull it all off?

This is the situation simulated in the annual CIMB Talent Trail 2017, a collaboration between Talent Corporation Malaysia (TalentCorp) and CIMB Group for Malaysian university students to enhance their employability skills. Now into its third edition, the high-energy challenge requires active team participation from university students with the objective of helping them apply and hone skills valued by today’s employers.

Recently concluded, the finale saw 60 successful finalist teams from 29 universities nationwide — out of the 313 teams that registered — ply the competition route across Kuala Lumpur either on foot or by public transport.

Apart from English language, interpersonal and communication skills, the tasks also required teamwork and adaptability in facing challenges, all within a stipulated time frame. Participants were provided a pre-loaded Touch ‘n Go card as an aid for public transportation.

The CIMB Talent Trail also requires registrants to answer questions on CIMB Group, TalentCorp and CIMB Fusion partners. CIMB Fusion is a unique graduate management programme for fresh graduates to gain exposure from both CIMB and an employer from a different industry.

In addition, this year’s challenge tested participants’ skills in digital and social media platforms to assess participants’ technological-savviness. Each finalist team had to submit a two-minute YouTube video that best encapsulates key learning from the CIMB Talent Trail 2017 in their quest to garner additional Challenge points.

“CIMB is passionate about talent development and the CIMB Talent Trail is one of our many activities that helps educate and prepare Malaysian students to enhance their employability. In today’s global and connected environment, a good command of English and proficiency in social media and digital channels will provide an edge and open up more career opportunities for job seekers. We would also like to thank TalentCorp for their assistance in extending our reach to university students nationwide,” said Datuk Hamidah Naziadin, who is CIMB Group chief people officer.

TalentCorp chief executive officer Shareen Shariza Abdul Ghani added: “The CIMB Talent Trail is an innovative programme that helps our young talents to enhance their employability and improve their transition into the workforce. We are pleased to collaborate with CIMB on this initiative, which serves as a great platform for our young Malaysians to test their skills through a series of exciting outdoor challenges.”

One of the activities this year also incorporated giving back to society. Students were tasked to sell cookies to the public, which requires negotiation and persuasion skills. All proceeds would go to Simply Cookies, a social enterprise that provides — through their child-friendly facilities — baking skills to single parents and their children.

Team C-E-O-S from Sunway University triumphed over 59 other teams of “talent trailblazers” to take home the top prize of RM5,000 cash. Meanwhile, Team AD Victoriam from Advance Tertiary College took the second prize amounting to RM3,000 cash while third place was occupied by Team Millennium X from Tunku Abdul Rahman College who won RM2,000 cash. All 28 winning teams were rewarded with cash prizes totaling RM25,000.

The winning team — Team C-E-O-S, Sunway University, comprising team leader BSc (Hons) Actuarial Studies student Karanbir Hundal, 30; BSc (Hons) Psychology student Amanda Lee Sing Nee, 22; ICAEW (Sunway TES) student Jolene Tay Chuan Phing, 21; and ACCA (Sunway TES) student Low Shu Yie, 21 — did not aim for the top spot but was motivated to put together a decent front and form strong collaborative relationships in order to complete each task in the challenge.

“We didn’t know each other before the competition — in fact, the first time we met was during dinner two hours before we drove up to Penang for the regional round! So we bonded along the way and by the finale, we were pretty solid. It was a little random experiment on my part, proving that people from different backgrounds with complementary skillsets can still come together and work well towards having a good time and if everything was aligned, maybe win,” said team leader Karanbir.

On what were the main challenges during the finale, Lee cited navigating through the game stations in Kuala Lumpur. “We took the wrong route and wasted around 10 minutes getting to one of the stations. Luckily for us, the final station didn’t take long for us to complete and we reached the finish line in time,” she said.

For Tay it was the time constraints and being resourceful. “We almost didn’t complete the last challenge due to the lack of time management. Some challenges required us to think out of the box and to pull our resources together to get the best results,” she reflected.

Low added that the group’s goal was to balance well between time and scoring high points. “We made mistakes along the way, but we managed to give our best within the given time.”

For the group, being named the Grand Finale Champion validated the skills the members already had and made them realise avenues to be explored and skills to be improved upon.

“In terms of employability, it gave us a better understanding of what today’s employers look for and how we can complement the company in the values and contributions we can offer. We are more marketable now and future employers should keep a close lookout for us,” Karanbir remarked.


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Your degree doesn’t define you

Sunday, April 16th, 2017

MANY people get pushed or simply fall into a career path. In some cases, a parent or family member convinces a child into a career or the child simply wants to be like the parent.

In other cases, it could be due to economic factor that forces a person to fall into a career to earn a living.

In some instances, they might just realise that the work is no longer fulfilling and choose to make a career change.

Some may decide to make that shift because life has offered them an opportunity to discover their hidden potential.

According to INTI International College Kuala Lumpur counsellor Hany Cheng, one’s career pathway is a significant part of life as it takes up a substantial amount of time in day-to-day living.

She said it can be dynamic and will naturally evolve over time.

“Deciding to make a change reflects a person’s courage to be different. It further suggests a willingness to take risks and venture into something new as there is hope in realising one’s potential through the unexplored paths,” she said.

However, Cheng believes one of the biggest challenges a person can face when wanting to make a career change is not having the support system they need during the process.

“It’s important to have a circle of people who motivate, encourage and believe in your aspirations.

“As the saying goes, ‘no man is an island’, so we all need support especially in making life-changing or career changing decisions.”

Cheng said some career changes may require formal training and education in a specific field, while others may come in informal ways which include coaching, mentorship or shadowing leaders.

“In all circumstances, I believe the process of learning never stops and gaining a higher level of academic qualification only enhances a person’s knowledge and experience,” she added.

Some professionals started out in their careers feeling passionate and idealistic about their job. It’s only after several years of working life do they realise that the job was not what they imagined it to be and that it’s not their cup of tea anymore.

At this point, many professionals find themselves thinking of a career change. This was the case for Anis Fatimah Ibrahim, Stephen Yong and Irwan Ismail Johari. Although the reasons people change careers can vary, for them it revolves around being unsatisfied not only with the work, but with the company and working environment.

The following three individuals made a career change at the right point of their life and they have not looked back.

Lawyer turned travel junkie and freelance travel writer

Former lawyer Anis Fatimah Ibrahim, in her 40s, took a risk and ultimately landed her dream job as a journalist, eventually becoming a travel junkie and freelance travel writer.

But what prompted her to make a career change when she had almost everything — a good salary, her own room, a secretary and a clerk?

“I practiced law for almost five years, in which half the time I did litigation, but I was not happy.

“I thought maybe litigation was not for me, so I switched to corporate law. I was dealing with more than sales and purchase agreement, or conveyance agreement.

“Basically, the job was interesting and I got to meet international clients in the process, but yet I was still not happy,” said Anis.

by Zulita Mustafa.

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Rising unemployment among university graduates worrying

Sunday, March 26th, 2017

KOTA KINABALU: The latest report by Bank Negara shows that jobless youth are on the rise with a 10.7% youth unemployment rate in 2015, out of which 23% are university graduates.

DAP Socialist Youth (DAPSY) Policy Bureau Director Phoong Jin Zhe said this is worrying and needs to be addressed immediately.

Phoong highlighted in a statement yesterday that the report showed youth unemployment rates rising from 9.5% to 10.7%, out of the national unemployment rate which rose from 2.9% to 3.1%.

On top of that, among the youth between 15 to 24 years old, only 16% have received high education while the remaining 84% are only secondary school graduates.

Notably, 23% of the university graduates are unemployed, in which Bank Negara justified that this is due to the increase in low and mid-skilled jobs within the country, and at the same time local industries are heavily relying on cheap labour that leads to low cost production. These, Bank Negara says are the reasons university graduates are finding it difficult to find a suitable job despite being equipped with the skills and knowledge for such industries.

Phoong warned that if such a scenario continues, the brain drain and income gap between rich and poor will continue to be worsened, which will cause the country to lose its competitive capability in the long run.

Phoong also said that despite several transformation programs carried out by the government, no significant changes can be seen, which can lead youths to lose hope.

He blamed the local industries’ heavy reliance on cheap labour consisting of large groups of foreign labourers, by which job opportunities created need not be a high skilled profession, as the main reason why the brain drain problem continues to fracture the country’s youth development.

Phoong suggested that it is necessary for our country to undergo industrial upgrading whereby high-skilled jobs can be created and there are high value productions so that university graduates will have opportunity in the country.

He stressed that in order to give youth industries a chance, the practice of heavy reliance on low skilled cheap labour has to be stopped.

“This is the only way our country could achieve its innovative upgrades in order to produce world class productions, and someday we might even get the chance to have our own Nobel prize receiver, and lead the country to its highest potential,” he said.

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It’s your poor attitude, youths told

Sunday, March 26th, 2017

GEORGE TOWN: Fresh graduates cannot find jobs after completing their studies because they have attitude problems.

StudyExcel Sdn Bhd general manager Jerry Tan (pic) said some blamed the employers for not giving them a chance because they are fresh graduates.

“Is that true? The Malaysia Employers Federation said there are about 200,000 unemployed graduates in the country.

“Many employers are not concerned whether you are a fresh graduate or whether you obtained your degree in Malaysia or overseas.

“They just care if you are good,” he said in his talk on ‘Options After SPM: Choosing The Right Subjects & Pathways’ at the Star Education Fair yesterday.

He added that 68% of employers think that fresh graduates have unrealistic expectations of salaries and employment benefits.

“I once interviewed three students from a college who asked for the same salary.

“When I asked them why they made that request, they said their lecturer told them they must get that kind of salary,” he said.

Besides their poor attitude, Tan said most fresh graduates were unemployed because of their poor English and poor communication skills.

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Poor English skills a major complaint in every industry

Saturday, March 25th, 2017

GEORGE TOWN: Employers have voiced their concerns over the poor command of English among new graduates entering the job market.

Star Media Group Berhad editor-in-chief Datuk Leanne Goh (pic) said it was no secret that English proficiency was one of the vital skills lacking among Malaysian graduates.

“We see that is the major complaint in every industry,” she said in her speech during the opening of the Star Education Fair 2017 at SPICE Arena on Saturday.

Quoting Alibaba Group founder and executive chairman Jack Ma, Goh said there is a need for people to think creatively, to be innovative and to really imagine.

“These are the traits that we need to empower our kids with,” Goh said.

She then presented testimonials from past scholarship recipients of the Star Education Fund.

“We have given away RM108.3mil to 3,582 scholarship recipients since the fund was established 1994.

“This year, we have 29 partners-in-education which pledged a total of 272 scholarships valued at RM13mil.

“From this, Penangites will receive 53 scholarships worth over RM1mil from five of our partners-in-education,” she said.

She thanked the five institutions from the northern region – Equator College, KDU Penang University College, Sentral College Penang, MSU College Penang and Sunway College Ipoh – for their pledge to contribute to the Star Education Fund.

Goh then welcomed three new partners-in-education namely Quest International University Perak, Oriental Nilam College of Nursing and Health Sciences and Malaysian Institute of Art this year. (2017)

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Producing competent professionals for the job

Sunday, March 5th, 2017
The National Consumer Complaints Centre received 192 complaints on construction or renovation in 2015.

The National Consumer Complaints Centre received 192 complaints on construction or renovation in 2015.

Players argue the time is ripe for the renovation industry to raise its standards.

SOME people say finding a good renovation contractor can be as difficult as striking the lottery. Or in some cases, there is a better chance of winning the lottery than being able to find an honest and competent contractor.

A survey of consumer tribunals reveal that disputes with contractors is rather common.

For example, New York City’s Department of Consumer Affairs handles thousands of such inquiries and complaints each year – and this refers only to licensed home improvement contractors.

According to the National Consumer Complaints Centre, which is affiliated with the Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations, it received 192 complaints on construction or renovation in 2015, which underscores the gravity of the problem.

Not surprisingly, even those in the renovation industry here find it hard to defend their counterparts.

Chew says it is time the industry raises its standards so that the renovation contracting business can be seen as a respectable one.

Chew says it is time the industry raises its standards so that the renovation contracting business can be seen as a respectable one.

“When it comes to the list of professions that the public considers most untrustworthy, I am sure that renovation contractors will come up at the top of the list,” said Desmond Chew, 42, construction manager for My Living Construction & Renovation Sdn Bhd.

Set up five years ago, My Living is a small outfit based in Kajang, Selangor that handles more than three dozen renovation jobs all over Klang Valley at any given time.

Billing itself as a one-stop renovation (including interior decoration) services setup, My Living wants to change the way the renovation business is conducted in the country.

For Chew, a systematic way to teach the nitty gritty of the industry in a way that resembles Technical Vocational Education and Training will lead to a generation professional contractors.

“We want to move away from the common scenario where the contractor strolls in to give a lump sum quotation, all the while wearing shorts, and probably with cigarette in hand,” said Chew, who feels strongly that it is time the industry raised its standards so that the renovation contracting business could be seen as a respectable one.

In the case of Malaysia, it is starting at a very low base. Firstly, there is no requirement that a houseowner must hire a contractor affiliated with the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) or any professional body to renovate his house.

Contractors don’t normally share what they consider trade secrets, such as how to measure and make cabinets.

Contractors don’t normally share what they consider trade secrets, such as how to measure and make cabinets.

“Sometimes, it can be based on introductions or referrals from friends, acquaintances or relatives. But there is no guarantee of competency,” said Chew, who has been called by dissatisfied customers to take care of the mess left behind when the original contractor absconds, or just gives up on the job due to various reasons, such as cash flow problems.

There are easily more than 10,000 renovation contractors in Klang Valley alone. The majority enter the business through the “school of hard knocks” that involves a lot of trial-and-error, or by just watching how others do it (correctly or otherwise).

According to the Master Builders Association Malaysia (MBAM), most renovation contractors are not MBAM members. “These so-called renovation contractors may not even be registered with CIDB. Quite often, most of these contractors may offer a lower price than the registered ones.

“However, the work they carry out are mostly based on their own understanding and experience, which sometimes may not be in accordance with industry standards, possibly leading to quality, safety and timeline issues,” it said in a statement.

Chew also cut his teeth in the industry the same way. His foray into the construction industry began when he worked as a salesperson for a renovation company.


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Medicos no longer guaranteed civil service employment

Thursday, January 19th, 2017
'Permanent appointments will be based on their merit during housemanship training and recommendation by the Health director-general.' - Datuk Seri Dr Chen Chaw Min

Permanent appointments will be based on their merit during housemanship training and recommendation by the Health director-general.’ – Datuk Seri Dr Chen Chaw Min

EXCLUSIVE: PETALING JAYA: Permanent employment for doctors, pharmacists and dentists in the civil service is no longer guaranteed.

The Government has started issuing jobs on a contract basis for them since last month as announced in Budget 2017.

According to the Health Ministry, if doctors successfully completed their housemanship within the three years of contract, they would have another two-year contract for compulsory service as a medical officer.

Pharmacists will be hired as provisionally registered pharmacists (PRP) for one year, with a maximum contract offered for two years and for the compulsory service thereafter, one year, with a maximum contract offered for one year.

There is no compulsory internship for dentists and compulsory service for them is one year, with a maximum contract offered for three years.

Health Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Chen Chaw Min said from last month, 1,219 candidates had been offered jobs on a contract basis by the Public Service Commission.

“Permanent appointments will be based on their merit during housemanship training and recommendation by the Health director-general,” he said in an e-mail to The Star.

The move, he said, is expected to reduce waiting time for housemanship training and compulsory service.

Dr Chen said competent staff who fulfilled specific requirements will get permanent posts but they may not immediately get the posts until there are vacancies.

Their salaries will be backdated to the date of appointment once the posts are available, he said.

He said for government scholars who have not been offered permanent posts in the ministry upon completion of their compulsory service, they could seek jobs in the university and military hospitals and the private sector.

He also said that for this year, the ministry planned to take in 9,300 candidates – six batches of intakes which will involve 5,425 candidates for house officers (housemen), three batches (1,921) for dental officers and four batches (1,954) for pharmacists.

He added that housemen will enjoy the same benefits received by permanent house officers as stipulated in a 2008 circular on contract of service with additional advantages.

Those under this “modified contract” will have full-pay medical leave up to 90 days, and the extension of medical treatment for parents in government hospitals and clinics, he said.

But only those who are appointed as permanent medical officers and have obtained their confirmation in service are eligible to apply for government housing loans, he said.

The monthly basic pay of a houseman is the same as the grade category UD41 of the permanent service which is RM2,947, while a dentist (grade UG41) gets RM2,844 and a pharmacist (UF41) RM2,740. With allowances, they could get RM4,000.

On the criteria for a permanent medical officer post, Dr Chen said doctors must fulfil the service requirements, including attaining a good level of competency and performance of at least 85% in the yearly performance review during their house­man­­­ship training or compulsory service.


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Poor ratings for fresh graduates

Sunday, November 27th, 2016
Sharma and Chook (front row, fifth and seventh from left), with INTI students at the varsity’s career services centre.

Sharma and Chook (front row, fifth and seventh from left), with INTI students at the varsity’s career services centre.

IN a recent survey, employers expressed their dissatisfaction over the standard of fresh graduates today.

At least 70% of respondents said the standards of fresh graduates were just average.

The ratings were not linked to their academic qualifications but to their poor attitude and communication skills shown during interviews or at work.

Therefore, took the opportunity to launch its first Graduate Employability Programme in collaboration with INTI International University and Colleges (INTI) to tackle the issue.

The programme consists of four segments – a Career Corner, student ambassadors, career services and an executive review.

These segments function as a centre for students to prepare themselves for their first job. country manager Chook Yuh Yng congratulated INTI for its effort in empowering students to build bridges for their future careers as well as preparing them to enter the workforce.

“ is proud to have INTI as its partner to set up a Career Corner, making it easier and more accessible for students to get assistance on their first job,” she said.

INTI chief executive officer Rohit Sharma said the counselling skills received by its Career Services team and student ambassadors will enable them to work closer with its students be it through the preparation of resumes, mock interviews and providing feedback for the students’ improvement.

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Path to top jobs of tomorrow

Saturday, November 19th, 2016
Top-class library which satisfies students’ needs.

Top-class library which satisfies students’ needs.

SCHOOL leavers these days know what they want and don’t want to waste too much time getting started on their chosen career. Disted College can help guide these go-getters on the path to success.

Renowned as the pioneer pre-university programmes provider in the northern region since 1987, the college offers high quality courses that prepare students for cutting-edge careers not only for today but for tomorrow.

Disted provides two options of Pre-U studies – the Cambridge A-Levels and the South Australia Matriculation (SACE).

Both are internationally recognised pathways to universities worldwide.

The programmes are available in durations of 12 or 18 months to cater to students’ learning needs and pace.

Besides Pre-U programmes, Disted also offers diploma studies in the fields of accounting, business, computing, engineering, creative multimedia and hospitality management.

The programmes come with a dual award qualification, presenting students with not one but two diplomas.

So don’t be left behind. Enroll now for a bright future at Disted College!

Do come to the college’s Open Day from 9am to 5pm today to find out more about the academic programmes available.

Alternatively, contact 04-2296579 or log on to for more information.

About Disted College

Disted is a premier not-for-profit institution of higher learning with 30 years of academic distinction and an alumni base of more than 7,000 students.

It is the pioneer of Pre-U studies in Penang, and with recognised and accredited diploma and degree programmes, the college provides quality and industry-relevant education to students from all walks of life.

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Graduates Need To Master Skills Along With Knowledge – Perlis Raja Muda

Monday, October 24th, 2016

News Pic

ARAU, Oct 23 (Bernama) — Graduates must arm themselves with a variety of skills and have high competitiveness in addition to having excellent qualifications, said Raja Muda of Perlis, Tuanku Syed Faizzuddin Putra Jamalullail .

He said the knowledge acquired at university is based on the subjects majored in and at the same time they must also have skills proficiency to be competent graduates.

“In the past, when the world economy was growing, vocations were ready and waiting for graduates. However, today the situation has changed where it’s the graduates who must hunt for jobs.

“Today the labour market has also changed and wants a flexible and multi-tasking workforce in the employment sector,” he said.

He was speaking at the third session of the 11th convocation of Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) held at Dewan Ilmu, UniMAP Main Campus, Pauh Putra, here today.

Also present was Raja Puan Muda of Perlis, Tuanku Hajah Lailatul Shahreen Akashah Khalil.

Earlier, Tuanku Syed Faizuddin received the instruments of appointment as chancellor of UniMAP for the fourth time effective Dec 13, presented by the chairman of the UniMAP Board of Directors, Datuk Prof Emeritus Dr Zainal Mohamed.


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