Raising bar on vocational training

CHALLENGES: It needs to be integrated into Educational Blueprint to be truly accessible.

THE year 2013 has been an extremely busy year for both the local and global Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) community. With the past half a decade or so witnessing a period of weak economic environment, the youth labour market has been adversely affected. The upside to this, however, is the increasing awareness of the important role TVET can play in improving employment prospects for youth.

The International Centre for TVET (Unevoc), an institute within the United Nations’ educational agency Unesco, had its hands full with numerous research and knowledge exchange projects throughout the year. Between August and November, it organised five regional forums, focusing on strengthening regional harmonisation of TVET transformation and seeking to promote a more sustainable TVET system in enhancing the skills of youth. The deliberation results are being used by Unevoc to draw up its plan of action for the next two years.

Another significant event for the global TVET community last July was the World Skills Competition (WSC), the biennial “Skills Olympics” where hundreds of young people from around the world compete to demonstrate their skills in various trades. This year, the competition was held in Germany, home of the model TVET system.

Our country also sent a delegation, where our youths bagged nine medallions of excellence in welding, plumbing and heating, electrical installation, hairdressing, fashion technology, cooking, restaurant service, refrigeration and air-conditioning, and IT network systems administration.

At the local level, 2013 has also been an eventful year. In preparation for WSC and the regional-level Asean Skills Competition, the Human Resources Ministry organised the annual national-level Malaysia Skills Competition in collaboration with the Works Ministry, as well as the MySkills Competition for trainers in TVET.

At the policymaking level, implementation of the Vocational Transformation Plan (VTP) by the Education Ministry has gone on in full gear, with the opening up of many new vocational colleges nationwide. The number of these colleges has now reached 79, with more in the pipeline.

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