Minister suggests vocational training classes for workers after office hours

KAJANG: Human Resources Minister M Kula Segaran has suggested that public and private vocational training centres operate after working hours and on weekends to enable workers to pick up skills.

He said this would be in line with the government’s plan to increase the percentage of skilled workers to 35% by next year.

“Currently we only have 28% skilled workers. This is very low compared with our neighbour Singapore which has 50% skilled workers.”

He also said the government would provide free training courses for students and individuals in the Bottom 40 (B40) group.

“They (skilled workers) are needed in various industries,” he said after signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the United Chinese School Committees’ Association of Malaysia (Dong Zong) here today.

Under the MoU, Chinese schoolteachers can enrol at government technical colleges to learn how to teach technical and vocational skills. They will then teach these subjects in their schools. Chinese school students will also be able to take up courses at these government institutions.

Kula said the problem with Malaysians was that they preferred to go for academic education and not practical or vocational education.

“There are many industries that need skilled workers. Foreign countries also place emphasis on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) courses. We hope to move from academic to TVET,” he added.

Dong Zong chairman Tan Tai Kim said the enrolment of Chinese in TVET courses is very low.

“We are in a different era and we are now facing the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This is the time we need a lot of people who have technical skills, and these people can draw foreign companies to invest here,” he said.

Tan added that students from Chinese independent schools can now enrol in the TVET courses provided by the government in the fields of their choice.

Meanwhile, Kula said the Cabinet had held a meeting yesterday to discuss employment and foreign workers issues but that no decisions were made.