Archive for the ‘Careers’ Category

Service-learning prepares graduates for the future

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia students at the My Asean Community Initiative in Kampung Sanchey, Wilayah Kratie, Cambodia.

STUDIES have identified positive improvement in the competencies of students who attended internship or industrial training.

In other studies, significant changes were noted in undergraduates’ attributes after they completed certain courses, particularly in terms of their teamwork skills as well as professional abilities.

However, not all undergraduates completed their industrial training or have internship opportunities.

Not all educators emphasise improvingtheir students’ generic and professional skills in the classroom or projects.

At the same time, the classroom or lecture method of learning does not give students “real experience”. Learning in the classroom is limited to discussions and learning theories. Real-life situations, as some scholars argue, can only be experienced in field studies outside the classroom.

The Education Ministry stresses on the implementation of High Impact Educational Practices which include 11 best practices in teaching and learning.

Among them are firstyear seminars and experiences, common intellectual experiences, learning communities, writing-intensive course, collaborative assignments and projects, undergraduate research, diversity or global learning, serviceor community-based learning, internships, e-portfolios, capstone courses and projects for final-year students.

These practices have been widely tested and shown to be beneficial for college students from many backgrounds.

So, what is service-learning? It is defined as a method of teaching and learning that utilises experience in providing service to the society.

It is an approach that combines academic learning objectives, soft skills and students’ community service by giving meaningful contributions to society. Service-learning has been widely implemented in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia since 1970s.

The method has its root in John Dewey’s theory of experience. Although Dewey never addresses the specifics of service-learning, yet his writing closely informs and links the philosophy of education to theory of inquiry, experience, social service and social transformation.

Experiential learning is a process of learning through experiencing or learning by doing.

It immerses students in an experience and then encourages them to reflect on the experience in order to develop new skills, new attitudes or new ways of thinking. Technically, servicelearning is part of experiential learning that ful fils a course’s learning objectives by performing services in the community.

Srvice-learning is part of an experiential learning approach that links students with their immediate community. It differs slightly from volunteer work although many consider the two comparable. This transformative method of teaching and learning provides avenues for students to engage in structured activities intentionally designed to enhance their learning and community service while fulfilling their needs.

Service-learning blends community service with specific course goals. At the beginning of the term, students will be informed from the course syllabus that community service will be part of their assignment and assessment, and that service-learning is one of the approaches of learning they will experience.

By the end of the semester/course, meaningful learning aims and community service can be reciprocally achieved.

So what are the advantages of servicelearning?

It increases retention of academic

content by providing students with experiences that have real-life consequences.

The students may find out that the science and theories they learn in classes are relevant and applicable in real-life situations. In a long run, service-learning produces future-ready graduates who are holistic and are able to function well in a society.

Various studies on service-based learning have proven that students can improve their academic achievements, build leadership skills and strengthen their desire to serve the community. In fact, experience in service-learning has given students the added professional and career advantage, apart from inculcating civic consciousness and providing ethical services to society.

It also improves and fosters students’ life skills and qualities such as self-discipline, team-building, collaboration, respect for others, respect for quality work, character growth and interpersonal and community engagement.

University students are exposed to positive community service experiences during their undergraduate years, which allow them to learn about life skills and build understanding and caring connections to the world around them. In addition, students connect with people living abroad which enriches knowledge and broadens their horizon and way of thinking.

By Dr Najah Nadiah Amran.

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New board for training institutes parked under Manpower Department

Sunday, March 10th, 2019
(File pix) Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran. Pix by NSTP/Ramdzan Masiam

PUTRAJAYA: The government will form an Institute-Industry Management Board (IIMB) at all training institutes under the Manpower Department to create a local workforce which will enable Malaysia to become a high-income economy.

Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran said three training institutes – Japan-Malaysia Training Institute (JMTI), Advance Technology Training Centre (ADTEC) Shah Alam and Kuala Lumpur Industrial Training Institute (ILPKL) – have been selected to take part in the IIMB pilot project.

He said the IIMB members would include Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF), registered employers, workers’ unions and employer associations.

“With the setup of IIMB, it will become an effective initiative to ensure facilities for training, curriculum and upgrading of educators at every training institute which will be relevant to the needs of the industry,” he said before witnessing the signing of three memorandum of understanding (MoU) on training cooperation.

The MoU signing was between the Manpower Department and Pembangunan Sumber Manusia Bhd (PSMB); Manpower Department, PSMB and Penang Skills Devlopment Centre; and Manpower Department, PSMB and First Solar Malaysia Sdn Bhd.

Kulasegaran said governed by the PSMB Act 2001, PSMB was given the mandate by the government to catalyse the development of a competent local workforce which would contribute to Malaysia’s vision of becoming a high-income economy.

“Additionally, PSMB continues to be steadfast in its effort towards encouraging employers covered under the PSMB Act 2001 to re-train and upgrade the skills of their local employees, apprentices and trainees in keeping with the fast-evolving global business landscape while meeting the aspirations of their respective company/companies.

“In line with the 11th Malaysia Plan, we need to take effective measures to increase the percentage of skilled workers. The burden of achieving this target is not solely borne by the government but equally shared by the private sector as well.

“Industrial workers need to have continous training in order to keep abreast with the current technological advancements. Workers who have significant experience in their relevant skills set can be certified via Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL) whereby it enables the workers to have a certificate or diploma without going through the traditional training pathway,” he said.

The minister was upbeat by the cooperation that the Manpower Department and PSMB would have with First Solar Malaysia, a subsidiary of a multinational company in the renewable energy industy, to further enhance the skills and academic qualifications of their technical staff.

“I was informed up to 500 technical staff will be involved, beginning with 125 technical staff who will undergo skills training at ADTEC Kulim.

By Azura Abas.

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Race more important than skills when it comes to jobs, study finds.

Thursday, March 7th, 2019

PETALING JAYA: Despite sharing the same qualifications, language skills and experience, a job applicant’s race still plays a major factor in employment, a study has found.

The study – conducted by Centre for Governance and Political Studies (Cent-GPS) – found that the resumes of Indians and Malays are the least likely to receive callbacks from employers in the private sector.

On the other hand, the resumes of Chinese candidates dominated the callbacks by a huge margin, according to the centre in a statement Thursday (March 7).

Over the past few months, Cent-GPS said it sent 3,829 job applications to more than 500 jobs.

In each of these 500 jobs, seven nearly identical resumes were submitted, but represented by different fictitious ethnic group candidates – three Malays, two Chinese, and two Indians.

The study ensured that all of the seven resumes had the same qualifications, experience, language ability (Bahasa Malaysia, English and Mandarin) but

differed in religious beliefs.

Out of the seven, Nicola Yeoh and Gabriel Liew, both ethnic Chinese, fared the best with 240 and 179 callbacks, respectively.

Zulaikha Asyiqin Rashidi had 70 callbacks, Nur Sakinah Yusof (50), and Kavitha Muthusamy (49) fared the worst for women, while Muhammad Saddiq Azmi and Thivakar Gunasegaran had only 43 and 20 callbacks, respectively.

“Both our female and male Chinese candidates obtained more job callbacks than their Malay and Indian counterparts combined,” said the statement.

At the same time, Cent-GPS said that despite its candidates being able to communicate in Mandarin at an “intermediate” level, a Chinese candidate is still likely to receive callbacks.

“Nicole received a 55% callback rate from Mandarin-required firms, while Thivakar only received 9%.

“In conclusion, for the most part, when companies list ‘Mandarin required’ in their advertisement, it is just a filter to hire Chinese candidates,” it added.

Cent-GPS also said that a Malay girl who does not wear the hijab is likely to receive more callbacks compared to one who does.

“Zulaikha (who did not wear a hijab) obtained a 12.8% callback rate, while Nur Sakinah (who does) obtained a 9.14% callback rate.

“The only difference was that in the picture, one wore a hijab and the other did not.”

Cent-GPS said the study paints a bleak future for Malaysian youth, and if such employment trends continue, many more people will be marginalised.

By Tarrence Tan
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Upskilling with English

Wednesday, March 6th, 2019
(File pix) A communicative approach in learning English will help students develop skills such as teamwork, problem-solving, negotiating and conflict resolution. Courtesy Photo

WITH the rising demand for soft skills in the working world, questions abound whether being competent in English is still key for graduates to gain employment.

The World Economic Forum Future of Jobs report last year suggested that by 2020, complex problem-solving skills, critical thinking, creativity, good people management and emotional intelligence will become very important traits in the workplace.

Having sophisticated language skills provides the foundation to communicate ideas, thoughts and opinions effectively.

British Council Malaysia director Sarah Deverall said proficiency in English has never been more important to gain employment and get ahead in the digital age.

And companies based in Malaysia and abroad are increasingly operating across geographical boundaries, so the ability to communicate in English with internal and external stakeholders is crucial.

“While many people nowadays are competent in using and understanding English, skills such as having an advanced range of grammatical structures, natural pronunciation, or awareness of appropriacy and register can make a huge difference in how effective they communicate in English,” she said.

In its latest Job Outlook report released in January, online job portal stated that English proficiency in Malaysia continues to be of concern, with 64 per cent of employers saying that a poor command of the language was the second reason behind the unemployment of fresh graduates. Malaysia country manager Gan Bock Herm said communication skills are among the top five valued by employers, and it is true that by improving those skills and having a good command of English, it would increase a jobseeker’s employability, especially for fresh graduates.

“Besides communication skills, there are other important traits that are crucial in the competitive job market.

“They include good problem-solving skills, the ability to manage stress and work independently, and the willingness to learn, embrace new changes and adapt accordingly,” he said.


“Learning a language can help with the development of soft skills, particularly when using the communicative learning approach, where students can develop teamwork, problem-solving capabilities, and the art of negotiating and conflict resolution,” said Deverall.

As an example, she said during speaking activities in British Council training programmes for scholarship recipients bound for studies at universities abroad, the students are given the opportunity to collaborate with their groupmates to practise turn-taking and negotiating.

The English classes may also involve discussions or essay-writing activities, where students are asked about their opinion on certain topics and to support it with evidence or ideas.

“This kind of activity allows students to develop their critical-thinking skills and confidence.

Alternatively, they may be asked to suggest a solution to an issue, which allows them to polish their problem-solving skills,” said Deverall.

In graduate training programmes, participants learn to make small talk with future bosses and colleagues, express ideas clearly in meetings, make presentations to clients or the management, and write structured, clear and concise emails, reports and proposals.

But English language courses are often short and may not be effective for university students to master the skills needed to survive the working world.

How can universities help students hone their English language skills, besides developing soft skills in an effective and lasting manner?


In Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), students are required to partake in English proficiency courses or activities under the university’s Putra English Language Experience (ELEx) programme —a learning package conducted by the Centre for the Advancement of Language Competence (CALC) — every semester.

The experience can be both beneficial and enriching.

They include the English Language Proficiency (LPE) courses, Certificate in English Language (CEL) courses and Language Activities without credit (LAX) assignments.

The number of courses students have to take depends on their Malaysian University English Test (Muet) results, with those at a higher band getting more exemptions.

Muet gauges the undergraduates’ level of English in listening, speaking, reading and writing. Its proficiency band ranges between one and six, with the latter indicating the highest competency.

Nurul Farah Hana Shafrizal and Amirul Hakim Abdul Rahman, 20, both first-year Bachelor of Computer Science (Multimedia) students, have some things in common.

Their Muet score of Band 2 puts them as limited users of the language.

While both are comfortable in listening and reading, they are rather challenged when it comes to speaking and writing as they often shy away from conversing in English.

However, that is rapidly changing when they took up a course on reading for academic purposes. The course is one of five credited LPE courses conducted by CALC.

It not only taught Nurul Farah Hana and Amirul Hakim the skills to pen their words, but also to communicate confidently.

“The course has improved my comprehension through reading and analysing information and contents.

“And because the class requires me to think critically and share my opinion with fellow classmates of different capabilities, I now feel confident to speak in public. Not to mention, I made new friends, too,” said Amirul Hakim.

“For me, I learned that reading is really important as it can build my vocabulary and help me to understand nuances. With that, I feel comfortable speaking in English when interacting with my foreign coursemates,” said Nurul Farah Hana.

Alani Wahi Mohd Wahi, 21, a second-year Bachelor of Environmental Science and Technology student who scored Band 5—which means she has a very good command of English — discovered her creative side when she took up an LPE creative writing course.

Being used to cut-and-dry scientific writing, she took the opportunity to explore different ways of expressing her emotions and thoughts.

“In class, I went through the process of writing creative English pieces, such as poems and short stories.

“ To write a nicely structured poem, words need to fit in a certain way, thus requiring us to learn new vocabularies along the way.

“And, we were required to explain our poems and short stories in class. This is when our communication skills and self-confidence stepped up.

“We also analysed short stories and poems, and this helped to enhance our creativity and crititical thinking skills,” said Alani Wahi.

Preparation for the working world is what third-year Bachelor of Electrical and Electronic Engineering student Nufail Izzfarhan Rozley, 22, seeks from the CEL course on communication professional development.

Even though he scored Band 4 in Muet, Nufail Izzfarhan still finds a lot of room for improvemennt in his command of the language.

“I will soon go for internship and companies often use English as a medium of communication. This course has taught me to write a resume and conduct myself in interviews. I also learned about business communication.

“This has made me confident. In fact, I recently attended an interview for an internship placement and I think I didn’t do so badly,” he said.

Using English outside the classroom in an interactive and fun way is not something every student gets to experience.

But for Izzah Islah Muslim, 21, a second year Bachelor of Business Administration student, she experienced this in an LAX assignment called “Get Groomed”, which saw her working with five of her peers to produce three instruction videos on grooming.

For a student with a Band 3 in Muet, the activity pushed her out of her shell to make presentations and take a leadership role.

“My groupmates and I were from different faculties with different levels of English proficiency. We had to organise meetings and group discussions, which must be conducted in English, and record them to show our instructor.

“It took the pressure out of having to speak and write in English, and it helped me to make new friends,” said Izzah Islah.

Her coursemate, Hasbatrisyia Alya Mohd Hedzir, 21, had the best opportunity to interact with native-speakers when she joined a two-week outbound mobility programme to the University of Wollongong near Sydney, Australia.

Already proven to be fluent in English with a Band 5 in Muet, Hasbatrisyia Alya said it was an out-of-the-norm experience.

She joined English language classes at the host university, stayed with a foster family and explored her surroundings by visiting tourist attractions.

“I learned so much more than English itself. I learnt a lot about the country’s culture, people’s attitude and history.

“I gained confidence by communicating with the locals, learned to adapt to new surroundings and to think on my feet. Overall, not only did I improve my English, but I also got to see another part of the world.”


According to CALC director Associate Professor Dr Arshad Abd Samad, Putra ELEx was approved by the university senate in 2013 and implemented the same year.

A major goal in developing the package is to address industry feedback of graduates’ weakness in the English language, especially in conversations.

“While the LPE courses focus on acquiring important language skills, the CEL courses emphasise the need in occupational situations. Finally, the LAX assignments are meant to encourage students to speak in English and raise their confidence in using the language.

“It is organised in small groups without the presence of lecturers, and the students are required to discuss in English to complete their tasks.”

As a whole, Arshad said the ELEx provides language-related knowledge and skills needed for academic studies through the LPE courses; skills and abilities needed for the workplace through the CEL courses; and, opportunities to develop confidence in using the language through LAX activities.

ELEx, Arshad said, is intended to hone the students’ English language skills and abilities. It is to make them more confident in using the language so they do not become tongue-tied. Student are encouraged to speak naturally and not feel awkward.

“Not all our students have the opportunity to use the English language in natural and authentic circumstances,” he said.

Arshad believes that language skills remain crucial even when the emphasis seemed to have moved to other soft skills, such as creativity and critical thinking.

“It is through good language ability that the employee will be able to convey ideas more clearly. Hence, even if an employee has ideas and is highly creative, he or she will not be able to express those ideas clearly without a good command of the language.

“Secondly, being proficient in a second language allows one to view relevant issues from a different perspective.

“The more ways we can perceive an issue, the better we can assess the situation and make appropriate decisions.”


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How to kick-start your career path in gaming industry

Wednesday, February 27th, 2019
(File pix) Games development students at APU working as a team to produce video games.

THE video gaming industry is one of the fastest growing in the world today. Last year, it made more than RM423 billion worldwide.

There is huge potential in the gaming industry in the country. In 2016, local gaming studios had a part in developing popular games such as Uncharted 4, Terminator Salvation and Mortal Kombat X.

The Malaysian studio Passion Republic has collaborated with international game developer Naughty Dog to develop the final instalment of the video game Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. It is a testament to Malaysia as a creative hub with the right talent to thrive in the industry.

This joint effort has led to partnerships with big names in the international arena. Since then many Malaysian studios have been creating headlines with their games such as King League 20(Kurechii), No Straight Road and Nightstream

With the growth of the industry, Malaysians are also jumping on the virtual world’s bandwagon to kick-start their careers such as producer, designer, artist, animator, digital media developer, and multimedia and animation tool developer.

Higher Ed looks at the nurturing of successful game developers with a focus on Game Art, Game Design and Game Technology (Programming) and how a degree in these disciplines can contribute to the growing market.


A champion of the gaming industry since 2000, the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) is optimistic of the nation becoming one of this region’s leading game hubs.

Take for example Multimedia University (MMU) game development graduate Hariz Mustafa, who has successfully published his virtual reality game, namely Deplau, on Steam Store, a digital distribution platform for video games developed by Valve Corporation.

During his final-year project, he experimented with gestures controls for First Person Shooter, a type of computer game in which the player aims and shoots at targets.

During his internship, he helped in developing a game prototype for Oculus Rift Development Kit 2 which led him to venture into virtual reality development.

With the industry on the rise, academicians urged policy makers such as government agencies and companies related to the gaming industry to develop an integrated ecosystem for Malaysian casual gamers and professional eSports players with the aim to create a winning combination for the industry and the economy.

Malaysia is on track to be the gaming industry hub as more international studios are entrusting local gaming studios with developing their intellectual property (IP).

Lecturer Damian Elias Surin at the Faculty of Multimedia Creativity in Limkokwing University of Creative Technology said: “This encourages young developers to venture into game development. With game studios aggressively expanding in both size and project content in recent years, university and industry partnership is vital in providing a balanced ecosystem in the gaming industry.”

The Youth and Sports Ministry is pushing for more development in eSports and the gaming industry in the country.

MMU lecturer Albert Quek said the gaming industry is unique as it is a melting pot of talents with backgrounds in art, and technical and design.

He added that the government has recognised the gaming industry as one of the important for talent development. Government agencies such as MDEC understand the importance of building an ecosystem in the industry for nurturing talents from eSport gamers to game developers.

Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) Department of Game Studies head Kevin Tan Han Keong said the huge growth creates healthy competition, exchange of ideas and ample job opportunities.

Democratisation means game developers are no longer constantly reinventing or creating game engines.

“Instead they use established robust world class game engines such as Unity and Unreal, while focusing on creating quality game content,” added Tan.

Associate Professor Wong Bee Suan, academic director at Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU), said the booming gaming industry in Malaysia will translate into more investments and more jobs will be created.

For example, multinational company Streamline has been in the country since 2010 and it has worked on Final Fantasy XV and Street Fighter V with Asia Pacific Institute of Information Technology students.


“Students from different backgrounds can leverage on the gaming industry by working together to create games,” said Quek.

“A game consists of visuals and sound, in addition to programming and game rules. Students of game technology with knowledge in programming can work with their peers versed in game art to create games.

“Students trained with good fundamentals in game education can get exposure to best practices in the industry.”

These graduates can explore careers in information technology (IT)-related fields, for example application programming.

There is consistent growth in the user base for digital games in Southeast Asia, Tan added, especially in the online and mobile games market.

With demand for new games in this region, comes the need for games which meet local tastes, localisation services and local content.

“Graduates in the fields of gaming can expect strong demand for their skill sets, whether they be programming, art or game design.”

The country has a healthy game development scene with many homegrown companies and talents that create original IP as well as outsourcing from international and established game studios such as Capcom, Naughty Dog and Blizzard.

“Game studios are looking for new ideas and ways of solving problems. A graduate who enjoys being challenged and tapping into the unique multicultural Malaysian roots can offer new perspectives to the industry.

“Therefore, jobs are aplenty for graduates with the right skill sets and talents.”

Graduates can look forward to potential careers in multimedia, animation, interactive software development, 3D modelling, graphic design, web programming and web page design.

“In the age of Industry 4.0, employers are not only looking for recruits but also creative and innovative individuals who can problem-solve, contribute and offer solutions.”

The gaming industry is not limited to developing games, as there is a wide spectrum of the ecosystem from developing games and games art to playing games.

“You can be a game commentator, who provides commentary during live video game events as well. There are huge opportunities students can leverage on. I see this rapid growth as exciting and encouraging, potentially it will create many jobs.”

Damian said: “Games artist and designers are in most demand but the industry opens up future pathways for high skills-driven graduates to respond and adapt readily to emerging gaming trends and technologies. They will emerge as high-flying graduates with high income careers.”


The local video games industry is always on the lookout for fresh talents to work with on projects and the best way to nurture gaming talents is through education.

In Malaysia, nine universities and colleges offer gaming courses from game development to eSports. There are Management & Science University, KDU University College and Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris besides APU, Limkokwing University, MMU and UTAR, which offer game courses at the degree level.

Others include Clazroom College and Selayang Community College, which offer diploma courses, and the Academy of eSports.

The Game Development programme at MMU exposes students to methodology through to pre-production, production and post-production, equipping students with the basics to design games.

“This is to prepare students to be ready for the industry. During their final year, they are involved in an innovative game project that uses game technologies.

“We have also appointed Wan Hazmer Wan Abd Halim, a well-known public figure in the industry with a portfolio as an ex-game designer of Final Fantasy 15, as industry adviser.

“He will review the university’s game syllabus and how we can improve the programme,” said Quek.

To ensure quality in the delivery of programmes, UTAR appoints professors from established foreign universities, who help moderate the courses and ensure the exam questions are in line with international standards.

“The university also appoints industry advisers from the Malaysian games industry to consult on the curriculum, industry trends and matters related to students’ development in the field of games studies.

“Students are exposed to the industry with frequent games studio visits. Industry experts visit the campus to critique students’ works and students enter competitions to flex their creativity.”

Tan said with this holistic education does not only prepare students for a career in games development but it also serves as a foundation for lifelong learning and to embark on related fields of interest.

In the initial stages of introducing the Computer Games Development degree programme 15 years ago at APU, Wong said it was a challenge to convince parents to enrol their children as they have yet to see the potential of the industry compared to the more popular and well-received IT programmes.

The university took the initiative to create awareness by participating in exhibitions and actively arranged talks and games workshops at schools.

With the growth of the industry and job opportunities, gaming courses are now well-recognised as career pathways.

APU is the first institution here to set up an eSports Academy together with eSports Malaysia. The academy focuses on training pro-gamers. Classes are offered during weekends for beginner, intermediate and expert levels, which run three months.

With a wide array of relevant games programmes and mentors from the industry, Limkokwing University provides students with prospects to develop and hone relevant skills within its creative environment.

An important feature is practical problem-solving with multi-disciplinary teams using current and emerging technologies.

“The programme simulates practices in the gaming industry and students develop more specialised skills in their areas of interest.

“From their first day on campus, students have access to the industry through a series of industry talks by experts to provide them with the necessary skills to design their future,” said Damian.

By Zulita Mustafa.

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Jobs of the future: Top five emerging careers

Thursday, February 14th, 2019
(File pix) Robotics engineering is a sought-after career pathway for school-leavers.

CHOOSING the right course to study after secondary school is one of the most important decisions in life.

With an array of courses available, the guidance of an experienced and knowledgeable education counsellor is invaluable after the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) and Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) examinations.

Regardless of whether school-leavers are from the arts or science stream, it is important to select a discipline that matches interests.

Malaysian Institute of Human Resource Management human resource adviser Geh Thuan Hooi said the programme of choice must be relevant now and in the future or graduates risk being left behind.

“With the advent of Industry 4.0 where artificial intelligence (AI) will replace many present jobs, anything related to data analytics, information technology and robotics are good fields to venture into.

“Jobs requiring a high sense of creativity and decisiveness will be much sought after. Those with a strong mindset, who are persistent and not afraid to fail, as well as team players will make it in the future,” he added.

Higher Ed looks at the top five emerging careers – data scientist, robotics engineer, physiotherapist, certified account and digital marketer – with a promising future.


Demand for data science skills is growing exponentially as it is crucial to extract knowledge and insight from data captured by companies.

Center of Applied Data Science (CADS) founder and chief executive officer Sharala Axryd said data scientists have always been in demand but, until recently, only large enterprises and digital natives were willing to make the significant investment.

“Corporations know that if they are slow to act, they will become dinosaurs in this digital age and lose competitive advantage.

“Management and executives are now actively utilising data to make business decisions,” she added.

“CADS offers courses such as the Data Star Programme and CADS Certification which teach the fundamentals of interpreting data, performing analyses and understanding and communicating actionable insights.

“The special SPM-Leavers Seminar, which was introduced last year, gives insight into the skills needed in the world of data science as well as job opportunities in the industry.

“Through these programmes, students are better equipped to stand out among their peers by pursuing career paths such as data scientists and analysts in various industries. These are increasingly highly sought-after roles which organisations are eager to fill.”

Data scientists are at the top of the data science career ladder as they possess both theoretical knowledge and technical skills.

“Data scientists should also have excellent communication skills to articulate their knowledge into useful insight that creates value.

Whether it is the field of AI, machine learning, deep learning or analytics, the possibilities are endless.

“A career in data science is considered an extremely broad field, as data scientists are relevant across industries, fitting in both vertically and horizontally.

“Exceptional understanding of all aspects of data, programming and business is highly respected.”

A Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Statistics or Social and Physical Sciences is the basis of skills required to process and analyse big data. Relevant fields include mathematics, computer science and engineering.

Arts stream students, who have non-technical skills, can pursue their interest in data science if they have strong communication skills or business knowledge.

For example, a Bachelor of Arts in Communication graduate can rewrite technical jargon into plain English for the easier understanding of the marketing department.


Robotics has been around for decades but current technological breakthrough in areas such as AI, Internet of Things, Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT), cloud computing and big data analytics has generated demand in sectors such as food and beverage, logistics and consumer markets.

Multimedia University Faculty of Engineering Technology dean Associate Professor Dr Fazly Salleh Abas said robotics is a discipline that combines knowledge on electronics, electrical and mechanical engineering, and software development.

The “body” of a robot is built on mechanical concepts, the “nervous system” on electrical and electronic components while the software forms its “brain”.

“It is not only the job of the future but is also now in demand. And it is not limited to manufacturing since robotics and automation are widely used in industries such as medicine, agriculture, law enforcement and surveillance.

“Graduates can choose to join the workforce in the industry or become researchers.

“The application of automation and robotics is broad. One may work on single-action robots in plants that automate bottle labelling or work on complex projects such as designing intelligent drones or a full-scale IIOT-enabled assembly system equipped with AI capabilities to predict possible breakdown.

“If one loves solving problems, then robotics is a brilliant choice for future pursuits,” he added.

In just a few decades, industries especially manufacturing are fertile ground for robotics and automation systems to evolve since they open the path to productivity and profitability.

“This technology has a long way to go in disrupting the way we manufacture and distribute products.”

A Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering — Robotics, Computer, Electro-mechanical, Electrical and Mechanical — is the entry-level academic requirement for a career in robotics.

Typical coursework for a robotics engineering degree includes advanced mathematics, physical and life sciences, computer science, computer-aided design and drafting, physics and materials science.

SPM science stream students with a Foundation in Engineering qualification or STPM scholars with three principals including mathematics and physics are eligible to pursue the Bachelor of Engineering (Electronics) degree majoring in robotics and automation.

For arts stream students who wish to become engineers, the pathway may be a little bit longer than for science stream students, whose usual pathway is to pursue Foundation, Matriculation or STPM course followed by an engineering degree programme.

A tip: excel in SPM and enrol in a diploma in engineering course at a polytechnic or public and private university before pursuing a degree in engineering programme.


Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said expenditure in the nation’s healthcare industry is expected to reach RM80 billion by 2020.

Industry-spending, which recorded RM52 billion at end-2017, has increased, fuelled by demand for healthcare services and the emergence of new care models beyond traditional hospital settings.

Management and Science University (MSU) Faculty of Health and Life Sciences dean Associate Professor Dr Sairah Abdul Karim said Malaysia is ranked as one of the highest for chronic heart problems and obesity among Asian countries.

There is a need for more physiotherapists to come up with exercise therapies designed to solve patients’ specific therapeutic goals.

Physiotherapists enjoy high employability as their skills are integral to the rehabilitation of patients who have either suffered a stroke, had a knee replacement, heart bypass surgery. In addition, they treat and minimise physical disabilities associated with injury, disease and other impairments.

“On average, a physiotherapist earns an annual income of RM29,500. Depending on experience, one can earn between RM14,000 and RM68,000 a year.

“This is a career that helps people and improves lives – not only alleviate pain – and there’s flexibility to work as a part-timer,” she added.

Physiotherapy courses offer a variety of hands-on skills that can be applied in hospital settings and sports clubs, special needs children’s centres, old folks home as well as rehabilitation centres.

“Physiotherapy graduates can look into becoming an academician, trainer, sports therapist, acupuncturist, chiropractor or exercise physiologist.”

With the average ratio of physiotherapists to the country’s population at 1:27,000 compared with 1:14,000 for developed countries, and 1:500,000 for under-developed nations, physiotherapists are in demand.

“There will be some 19,000 physiotherapists in the country by 2020 when the estimated population is 32 million, giving a ratio of 1:1,813.”

In 2016, there were 216 private and 153 public hospitals in the country. The Health Ministry employed 1,373 physiotherapists.

Non-governmental organisations and the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry also hired them.

In addition, physiotherapists also able to set up private practices and work in private clinics.

At MSU, prospective students need a minimum C grade for science subjects to enrol in the physiotherapy course, which includes 70 per cent hands-on learning and practice to ensure comprehension of integrated therapeutic approaches to patient care.

The programme encompasses clinical placements in accredited places such as MSU Medical Centre, public hospitals (under the supervision of the Health Ministry), private hospitals, National Sports Institute of Malaysia and healthcare services providers.

The specially designed clinical placements exceed the 1,000 hours requirement by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency.

“The curriculum is carefully crafted to ensure students are competent and inventive practitioners later in their career.

“This programme is delivered through innovative, 21st century teaching techniques, which engage students in collaborative, highly focused assessments and projects to build a solid foundation for a career in physiotherapy.”

KPJ Healthcare University College School of Health Sciences dean Mohd Izham Mohd Zain said physiotherapists are sought after in the healthcare industry, in line with changing lifestyle and new healthcare models.

“There is an obvious shift of care from the traditional role of providing rehabilitation and curative care at hospitals to preventive measures, which curb occupational-related disorders.

“Such an extended role requires higher academic qualifications to cater to needs and fulfil expectations,” added Mohd Izham.

To meet demand, numerous higher education institutions offer training programmes at the bachelor’s level instead of diploma.

KPJ Healthcare University College’s School of Health Sciences offers physiotherapy programmes from diploma to master’s.


With exponential growth of the Internet, firms have more opportunities to communicate with their target audience.

Consumers are also highly intelligent and take well to online marketing as it is the medium most relatable to them.

Digital marketing is becoming a sought after career in a borderless environment.

Taylor’s University School of Media and Communication senior lecturer Dr Nurzihan Hassim said learners who are Internet-savvy can build up a diverse portfolio by mastering their hard and soft skills in both online and existing channels, be it radio, television or newspaper.

Through corporate bodies as well as advertising, public relations and media agencies, the 4th IR brings with it a need for media strategists, creative content creators and event managers to handle integrated marketing communications.

“It is a highly exciting and competitive field, so experience is critical as digital presence is very much relevant and needed,” she added.

Nurzihan said many advertising and branding campaigns integrate the human experience with augmented and virtual reality, and AI.

“Humanising technologies with consumers’ wants puts them first and wins trust. For example, voice searches such as Amazon Alexa see a higher engagement with smartphone users and opportunities for product knowledge and new trends.

“Snapchat won over audiences by allowing them to explore the Nike catalogue through augmented reality at a brand event and purchase Air Jordan III through Shopify.

“In essence, the key is to excite consumers and give insight into a product, brand or firm to gain and sustain attention through creativity and innovation of technology.”

Given that marketing in the future will be device-based, enrolment in a digital marketing course allows youth to enhance tech skills and learn to merge sales concepts into this next generation of marketing.

“Youth today are digital natives born in the era of the Internet and understand it the most. They are the best generation to implement digital marketing innovations that can bring change in society, and increase acceptability, response and practice of new ideas, concepts, products and trends.

“What we teach here is the history of the field and then bring into focus by linking it with digital practices. When students are exposed to the overall context of advertising and branding, they learn key areas such as audience research and the importance of evaluation, planning and creative execution across all major media channels.

“This breadth of knowledge is extremely useful for those interested in careers in advertising, marketing, brand management, audience research and handling big data.”

Nurzihan added that as long as they have the passion for it, students from both the Science and Arts streams can enrol in a Digital Marketing course as it is a mix of creative arts and technology.

“Science students already have the required skill-sets for pursuing the course such as the ability to think objectively and analyse quantifiable metrics.”


The country is in need of qualified professional accountants to meet the demand for 60,000 by next year.

With the development of digital technology, the role of accountants will be more challenging as they will use sophisticated and smart technologies such as software systems including cloud computing to enhance traditional ways of working.

And it is imperative that they are benchmarked against the highest standards and tested by the rigour of professional accountancy examinations.

UNIRAZAK chief executive officer Amil Izham Hamzah likened a degree in accounting to a key that unlocks a door to a room with a large chest containing a treasure — the certified accounting qualification.

The mental and physical skill-sets and stamina that one gains in the process of unlocking the chest are the greatest rewards for a certified accountant.

“It is by going through this process that sees many opportunities, imaginable or otherwise, open up to certified accountants.”

Therefore, it is crucial to go beyond an accounting degree and pursue professional accounting certification.

Generally, there are two ways of pursuing this certification. One can go the traditional route of obtaining a degree then pursuing professional accounting

certification or embark on a programme that combines both the university degree and professional certification, such as the CPA Australia Accounting degree qualification.

In developed countries, it is rather common for those in the science stream to cross over and study accounting.

“When I was enrolled in a professional accounting programme, a former colleague, who studied geology, was one of the best certified accountants in the firm then.

“You need the smarts and a willingness to go through the journey with perseverance, patience, prayers and lots of caffeine!”

The allure of professional accounting certifications has to do with existing and projected demand for certified professional accountants. Consistent with the trajectory of fast growing economies, Malaysia is projected to continue to need professionals of certain disciplines including certified accountants.

“Unlike certain jobs that are mere fads, the qualification as a certified accountant stands one on solid ground. I was awarded professional certification some 20 years ago and I can safely say that the qualification as a certified accountant is ‘not a destination but a means’ of taking on many roles and responsibilities in many ventures and industries.”

A certified accountant exercises constant judgment in his work, for example identifies and makes a call on substance rather than form; assesses intentions and their consequences; and effectively deals with shades of grey rather than mere black or white.

“It is a discipline that is more of the arts than sciences. The essential traits remain relevant in the foreseeable future.”

Meanwhile in its effort to contribute towards the development of talent in the country, Permodalan Nasional Bhd has introduced the PNB Chartered Accountant (PCA) course.

The programme targets candidates from different entry levels — SPM school-leavers, graduates of Foundation programmes from professional accounting bodies and graduates with a Diploma or Degree in Accountancy.

On Oct 26, 2016, PNB and its programme partners—Yayasan Peneraju Pendidikan Bumiputera, UiTM Private Education Sdn Bhd and Ernst & Young Malaysia — signed the Joint Collaborative Educational Partnership Agreement to provide sponsorship covering subsistence allowance and fees (tuition, examination and membership).

By Zulita Mustafa.

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Work, Matters! : Be positive if you want positive outcomes

Thursday, February 7th, 2019

It’s that time of the year again. The lunar New Year festivities have been flourishing in full swing. The most amazing displays of fireworks and lion dances have been regaling us this week.

This year is the year of the Boar, which is the twelfth of the 12-year cycle of animals in the Chinese zodiac. I am extra excited, because I was born in the year of the Boar.

My excitement led me to look for the musings of Feng Shui masters to see what 2019 has in-store for me. Being a “metal-boar”, I was very pleased to read that I can anticipate “unexpected cash flow.”

I am not usually culturally inclined to pay much heed to the Chinese zodiac. But, being Malaysian at core, I tend to cherry pick the positives from the cultures around me, to help me along the way.

And, do notice how I only paid attention to the positive aspects of the zodiac readings.

It sounds so clichéd, but positive thinking has an enormous impact on every part of your life, particularly your career.

While your skillset is vital for progress at work, it is your ability to reframe your thoughts optimistically, that plays the pivotal role, in you achieving any sustainable success at work.

There are senior managers that I coach, for instance, who struggle with their jobs. And, they are not incompetent or disengaged. Their struggles are just caused by working with negative people, with negative attitudes, on a daily basis.

This is a common dilemma for many people on my leadership coaching programme. They feel tremendous stress, and more often than not, this condition is caused purely by negative thinking.

Resonating negatively is a common condition afflicting many.

I have learnt that negative thoughts make me worry and stress, in the most inappropriate ways.

This week I had to deal with worry and stress. I was in Bangkok conducting a series of leadership coaching sessions when my father called to inform me that my mother had been hospitalised.

I had to get a grip of myself and focus on what I could do for my folks from that far away. I did what I could, and after a couple of days, I got myself back to Penang to be with them.

Apart from being grateful that my mother was out imminent danger, the most inspiring thing happened when I had a chat with her cardiologist, Dr Rajesh P Shah, at Gleneagles Hospital in Penang.

He explained my mother’s situation quite thoroughly, and thankfully he spared us the medical jargon, which is a sign of a doctor who understands that family members have a limited ability to grasp facts, at trying times.

After he explained her condition, the prognosis, and the treatment plan, I asked him rather innocently, that aside from resting, what else should my mother do?

He smiled and said she just needed to be positive, and be surrounded by people who were positive.

I didn’t expect that, but I was totally overjoyed that my mother was in good hands, with Dr Rajesh

Through my work and my personal experiences, I know that healthy and happy people think about what they want, and how to get it, all the time. They develop a positive attitude that truly changes their entire life.

I went right back to my mother’s room, and we talked about the treatment plan briefly. Then we started discussing all the interesting new things that will happen when she comes out of the hospital. We talked about how much more time she was going to spend with me and my wife in Kuala Lumpur, and this made her really happy.

As a result, almost instantly her spirits lifted, and she looked re-energised.

There was a study on the effects of worry and our ability to perform tasks by Pennsylvania State University. The study was cited in the Journal of Clinical Psychology in 1990. It showed that people who are anxious for more than fifty per cent of the time, had a reduced ability to sort objects, as the difficulty of those tasks increased.

The research went on to demonstrate that this disruption was a result of increased levels of negative thoughts. It appears that when the brain is faced with complex tasks, negative thinking actually hurts your ability to process information, and think clearly.

Psychologist, and author of the book “Hardwiring Happiness”, Dr. Rick Hanson argues that if you successfully train your mind to replace negative thoughts with positive or constructive ones, you will experience less anxiety and depression.

Just remember that thinking negatively about your problems doesn’t solve anything. It actually makes it harder for you to create any useful solution.

When you learn to look at the silver linings in every situation, you will have greater compassion, love, contentment, joy, gratitude, self-esteem, and satisfaction with life; and overall happiness.


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Great news for unemployed graduates, non-graduate youths

Monday, January 28th, 2019

KOTA KINABALU: New opportunities await youths in Sabah after a memorandum was signed between DHS Hospitality Academy and Asia e University (AeU), offering training and work placement in the hotel industry for youths, especially those unemployed.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will see DHS Hospitality Academy Sdn Bhd and AeU’s School of Professional & Executive Education (Speed) offer unemployed graduates and non-graduate youths in Sabah training and work opportunities through their Speed Vocational Career Programme and Sabah Youth Career Programme.

DHS Hospitality Academy Human Resource and Training Director, Dr Sri Kumar Sivakumaran said that the programme will be opened to youths and graduates who are still unemployed in Sabah and throughout Malaysia.

“Both DHS and AeU are very excited about this new programme and both parties are enthusiastic about the results and benefits the programmes will bring to both the youths as well as the hotel industry in Sabah,” he said in a statement, here.

According to Sivakumaran, students who enroll into the programme will also get work placement opportunities in the hotel industry in Singapore.

“The Sabah Youth Career Programme will be offering various training courses such as management, hospitality and skill for the youths in Sabah.

“They will first go through a basic theory course in Malaysia, before they will receive work placement in Singapore for six months, where food, accommodation as well as a monthly RM1,500 allowance will be provided.

“For the youths, we will also be offering one-way flight tickets from Kota Kinabalu to Singapore, after they complete their one-month theory course, which will be done in either the AeU campus in Subang Jaya, Selangor or at our training centre in Sabah,” he said.

According to Sivakumaran, DHS will also be using the Hospitality Professional Programme to help unemployed graduates to start a career in Singapore.

“Unemployed graduates in Sabah can go through this programme, which offers 12 to 24 months’ work placement in Singapore, with a starting salary of RM7,200 a month. This programme is designed to improve their interpersonal skills as well as to develop their discipline and drive to start a career in the hotel industry.

“However, for the Hospitality Professional Programme, participants will need to source their own accommodation in Singapore, however they will be assisted by our partner, SG Quest Pte Ltd and interviews will be held in Malaysia for their convenience,” said Sivakumaran.

To date, the programme has seen more than 850 trainees undergo the various programmes. Sivakumaran said that the programmes are not only meant for educational dropouts, because the programmes are designed to provide industry-standard workforce.

“The hotel industry demands a great size workforce, comprising disciplined, driven and skilled people. We realise this and DHSHospitality Academy is ready to help those who are interested to have a strong career in the hotel industry.

“With highly experienced educators, trainers and team, we are able to train individuals within a short span of four weeks together with guaranteed work placement in Singapore,” said Sivakumaran, adding that DHS Hospitality Academy has become the preferred source of workforce for the hotel industry in Singapore.

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You’re hired!

Wednesday, January 9th, 2019
(File pix) The recent survey, School-To-Work Transition of Young Malaysians, by Khazanah Research Institute revealed that the existence of a mismatch of job search and recruitment methods as one of the reasons for unemployment. Freepik Photo

TODAY’s youth represent the nation’s best educated generation, yet they face a number of difficulties making the transition from school to work. In 2017, 56.4 per cent of youth aged between 15 and 24 years old were unemployed.

The recent survey, School-To-Work Transition of Young Malaysians, by Khazanah Research Institute revealed that the existence of a mismatch of job search and recruitment methods as one of the reasons for unemployment.

The survey found that while employers use online advertisements and informal networks of relatives and friends to recruit workers, young people search for jobs via public employment services such as JobsMalaysia, career fairs and open interviews.

Although informal recruitment channels have cost-saving advantages, they also penalise poor, disadvantaged job seekers who have limited social network and restrict the selection pool of employers.

Fixing a mismatch

Ahmad Arieff Ahmad Azriff, 23, is open to any medium of job search which leads to an application for a position and an interview.

“While I submitted applications online and at career fairs, it was at the latter where I secured an interview and was shortlisted,” said Ahmad Arieff,aSkim Latihan 1Malaysia (SL1M) trainee at one of the financial institutions in the country.

He prefers online job applications to career fairs. “You can submit applications to various companies in one sitting which saves money and time,” he added.

The survey suggested that young job seekers use employment services such as JobsMalaysia and recruitment agencies in addition to visiting career fairs.

Personal financial adviser Sarah Nadhirah Hasrin Rathim, 23, prefers to apply for jobs online.

She said most employers advertise vacancies at and/or the companies’ websites. An online posting is a quick and easy way to reach the most number of applicants in a short time.

“On the other hand, at LinkedIn, one can put up one’s profile and resume,” added Sarah Nadhirah.

“Employers who look for candidates through word of mouth may not cast a wide enough net to reach out to as many talents as possible.

“I was lucky enough to be selected foraSL1M programme at one of the financial institutions and secured not one but two interview opportunities along the way. I was shortlisted and here I am as a permanent staff a month later.”

Job seekers should be bold and put in more effort when looking for employment.

“Many have paper qualifications and excel in studies but need to stand out from the rest. That’s the key to getting employers’ attention.

“Employers look for creativity too, not just straight As. Youths are the leaders of the future and they must stay relevant.”

Boston Consulting Group consultant Omar Akbar Khan, 24, said finding the right fit in the workplace is crucial to sustain motivation and ensure productivity.

Fresh graduates should cast off self-imposed limitations and consider working abroad in light of increasing connectivity.

“I prefer online job advertisements, professional networking platforms such as LinkedIn and direct engagement with a company at recruiting and networking events.

“Online advertisements are detailed in job scope and the Internet offers quick comparisons and a broad survey of job opportunities,” added Omar.

He believes it is best to raise one’s profile by actively engaging with employers at company websites as well as keeping an updated profile on professional networking sites such as LinkedIn.

The Taylor’s University graduate also secured interviews with help from the institution’s career services team.

Esther Tan Jen Chze, 25, said that young job seekers are inclined to go online to look for vacancies.

“When I was actively looking for employment, I relied entirely on job sourcing sites. This online method provides detailed information about a company and job specifications, allowing room for comparison.

“Job fairs have never piqued my interest as I studied interior architecture. I secured my position through a friend, which proves the importance of a strong network. Nothing is stronger than a recommendation from a trusted source,” added Tan, who worked at Walter Knoll Ag & Co Kg for a year.


Mohd Hafiz Muslim, a resourcing specialist at a multinational company, said that while employers make use of technology to raise visibility among job seekers by posting vacancies at job portals, they also have booths at career fairs and employ the services of job agencies.

Depending on the vacancy, employers also use their own network for recruitment.

“This is more effective in term of cost and hiring time frame. Above all, employers have many hiring options to recruit the right talent.

“Job seekers can’t rely on one method when applying for a position.

“They also need to prepare a curriculum vitae specific to the position and look into the job qualification before submitting their profile.”

His firm uses its Employer Branding and Employer Value Proposition to recruit the best talent and puts the employee first so that they can become brand ambassadors.

“We use social media to attract potential talent and become an Employer of Choice among graduates.”

Management consultant Rizleen Mustafa at a global professional services firm said that word of mouth and disseminating “any form of information” to a network can result in a right hire.

“There is no harm in exchanging information within the fraternity for the benefit of the organisation.

“Employers are always in need of talent who can make a difference.”

Rizleen, who has 15 years of experience in human resource and recruitment, added that job seekers can self-market on platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram as well as get to know potential employers better at career fairs and open interviews.

“They need to be well-dressed, confident and communicate well in the 15 minutes or so that they have with potential employers.”

Sofea Iman Ahmad Sofian, strategic planning and risk management head at an oil and gas company, said candidates are encouraged to apply for jobs at its website.

“However, there are cases where we forward their CVs to human resources for their further action.

“This applies when we urgently need to fill a position and have found a potentially suitable candidate.

“We also look for candidates at LinkedIn and use external recruiters if we want specific skills.”

She recommends going over one’s curriculum vitae and cover letter with a career counsellor to get feedback.

“Career counsellors not only review resumes but also highlight networking opportunities and assist in job searches.”

(File pix) Job seekers throng a Graduan Aspire Career Fair at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. Pix by NSTP/Salhani Ibrahi


Khazanah Research Institute’s School-To-Work Transition of Young Malaysians report highlights challenges, mismatches and popular misperceptions regarding Malaysian youth in the labour market.

Conducted for the first time in the country, the report supplements official national estimates of employment by providing information on determinants of labour market advantage or disadvantage; aspirations and behavioural choices of youth; quality of school-to-work transition; and youth labour demand from the perspective of employers.

It focuses on different groups of youth (in school, tertiary, job seekers and workers) and employers.

It found that youth are not equipped with the skills required by employers, youth are not choosy about their jobs and their current jobs are not related to their level or field of education.

Employers have critical roles to play to get the right young workers they need.

Large enterprises, the public sector and public-listed companies must make budget allocations for training newly recruited young employees.

Participation in employability training programmes is low. Only three per cent of employers participated in SL1M and two per cent participated in the Graduate Employability Management programme.

But employers did better in offering structured internship programmes or attachments to students as at least a quarter of them provided work-based training and work experience for young people.

The report also highlights changing patterns of youth employment as more young people are going into temporary, part-time, casual and zero-contract work.

Khazanah Research Institute visiting senior fellow Dr Lim Lin Lean, who is lead author of the report, said: “It is important to learn from young men and women themselves what they want out of life and work, how the education and training systems are equipping them for employability and how they fare in their job search and working conditions because the human resources of the young determine the nation’s advancement into high-income status.”

The report provides policy implications and options arising from these findings that can be used to stimulate discussion and identification of appropriate measures to enhance the employability of youth and the more effective functioning of the labour market.


The survey recommends that in order to address mismatch between job search and recruitment methods, there is a need to enhance the role of employment services, both public and private, by supporting them to use digital technology and other channels to more effectively link job seekers and employers.

Employment services especially in rural areas and East Malaysia should be made available where they are most needed.

In addressing this mismatch between job search and recruitment methods, both public and private entities can enhance the role of employment services, ensure that they are available (particularly in rural areas), strengthen the outreach of employment services and make greater use of digital technology to facilitate job search and job matching processes.

Employers’ organisations and chambers of commerce can make a case to their members as to why youth employability is important and what they can do to promote it.

They should also strengthen interactions between employers and education and training institutions through arrangements for work-based training to complement classroom learning.

By Zulita Mustafa.

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No thanks for all the education

Monday, December 31st, 2018
(File pix) The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Pix by NSTP/Rosela Ismail

MOVING from the school bench to the workstation may have been a smooth transition for Malaysian baby boomers. Not so for our young Malaysians aged between 15 and 29, according to Khazanah Research Institute’s (KRI) School-To-Work Transition Survey 2017/2018 (SWTS) released yesterday.

KRI’s survey talks of “a number of difficulties young Malaysian men and women encounter in their transition from school to work.” To put it bluntly, many of our young lads and ladies just cannot make the transition. This shouldn’t surprise us. The Malaysian Employers Federation’s laments of yore prepared us for this. So did the capacious comments of academics and NGOs. In fact, KRI’s Inception Note to SWTS quotes employers as saying that Malaysian universities are not producing “employable” graduates with the skills, industrial training and soft skills, such as the ability to think critically and creatively, to communicate effectively and work independently. Others too have shared similar stories. A 2014 study conducted by the World Bank in collaboration with the Institute for Labour Market Information and Analysis, Ministry of Human Resources, too came to similar conclusion, ending with a call to revamp Malaysia’s education and training system. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Economic Assessment of Malaysia 2016 added to the chorus of voices calling for the re-purposing of our education system.

There was plenty of evidence on the ground, too. Quoting the Higher Education Ministry’s Graduate Tracer Study of 2016, KRI said that 23 per cent of Malaysian graduates were out of a job six months after graduating. Of the 57 per cent employed, 15 per cent were in part-time jobs. Even PhD graduates faced a similar fate: 16 per cent of them were unemployed in 2016. The decline apparently has an earlier history. In 2014, there were 450,000 Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia certificate holders, but only 250,000 of them continued with some form of tertiary education. It is not just the universities that are ailing; schools, too, are hit with the blight.

We cannot, of course, blame all our ailments on our education system. But that is a very good place to look for a cure. And we must begin at the beginning. What really is the purpose of education? Some argue that an education system’s aim should be to produce intellectuals. Martin Luther King Jr. thought not.

We agree. “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason but no morals. We must remember that intelligence is not enough.

Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.”


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