Vocational education and training sector is still missing out on government funding: report

There is a stark difference between schools, VET and higher education spending in Australia, according to our research published today.

The Mitchell Institute’s 2017 report shows that while spending on schools and higher education continues to grow, vocational education and training (VET) expenditure is going in the opposite direction. We are spending less on VET now than we were a decade ago, in real terms.


The chart below shows the trends in expenditure over an 11-year period to 2015-16. This analysis uses 2005-06 as the base index year. Indexing enables comparison of change over time from a common starting point, which is 100 here. So, an increase from 100 to 102 would represent a 2% increase. All expenditure values are in 2015-16 dollars, converted to real terms using a GDP deflator.



This analysis was done using Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data. While more detailed data are available for each education sector through different collections, the ABS applies the same method for estimating expenditure for each sector. This makes it the best means of making a comparison across schools, VET and higher education.

The figures include all expenditure by government entities – meaning by governments (to both public and private education providers) and also by public schools, TAFEs and universities. This gives us an approximate picture of where the dollars are flowing, and how this is changing over time.

What’s important here is the increasing disparity in expenditure growth between the sectors, particularly between VET and higher education.

VET missing out

This comparison confirms widespread concerns about VET going backwards. Expenditure in 2015-16 was 4.7% below the level in 2005-06.

This tells a worrying story about quality vocational education and training not being a priority for governments.

Key growth employment areas like aged care, early childhood education and hospitality rely on vocational training for skilled workers. Building up vocationally qualified workers in the growing service and caring industries will be essential, particularly as employment in the manufacturing sector declines.

Universities going from strength to strength

Higher education has followed a very different path. Spending has grown by 53% over the 11 years from 2005-06.

These figures include spending on more than just teaching and learning and universities have other significant sources of revenue, including international students.

Even so, it is clear that governments, and Australians collectively, are prioritising spending on university education over vocational training.

Early years catching up

This is the second time preschool has been included in this overview of education expenditure.

The chart below compares growth in expenditure on preschool, alongside the other education sectors over the same 11-year period.



Although coming off a much lower base, preschool spending grew rapidly following the National Partnership Agreement on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education in 2009. This growth reflects a growing awareness of the importance of the early years among governments.


This comparison shows where we are focusing our education resources as a nation.

These diverging patterns of expenditure across the education sectors reflect our longstanding fragmented approach to policy and funding, particularly at the tertiary level.

Under current policy settings, it is not hard to imagine the already considerable discrepancy between VET expenditure and higher education and school expenditure continuing to grow.

This report, the fourth in the series, should prompt government to consider a more strategic approach to distributing resources across the education sector.

The uneven approach between VET and higher education in particular reflects an ongoing failure to conceive of the two as part of a single tertiary education system.

This blindspot continues to act as a barrier to the creation of the responsive, integrated education and training system many are arguing is needed to sustain economic growth in a changing world.

Source: theconversation.com

Comment: Malaysia should be applauded for going the other way round but then, leakages are still rampant. Recent swindled fund of RM40 million from PTPK is a very good example. It has caused the private providers to have a very hard time recruiting students due to very low quota for funding

Ever-expanding roles, responsibilities of MOHR

Riot believes that his ministry has provided a holistic solution to the skilling, upskilling and reskilling of the nation’s workforce.

KUCHING: It comes as no surprise that the Ministry of Human Resources (MOHR) holds many duties under its purview, being the authority in charge of the Malaysian workforce.

The ministry is responsible for skills development, labour, occupational safety and health, trade unions, industrial relations, industrial court, labour market analysis and social security — to name a few — and these responsibilities continue to grow with each new facet introduced, as roles of human resources evolve with time and technology.

Take, for example, the boom of the ‘gig’ economy over the past two years triggering new income-generating trends such as Uber and Airbnb — leading MOHR to come up with new ways to protect the interests of employees in a whole new light.

First formed in 1904 as the Labour Department, it has changed its name six times over the past 114 years, riding on the massive changes in the nation’s industrial landscape and labour forces.

 

Now, MOHR oversees ten federal departments and four federal agencies:

FEDERAL DEPARTMENTS

1. Department of Labour of Peninsular Malaysia (JTKSM)

2. Department of Labour Sarawak

3. Department of Labour Sabah

4. Department of Skills Development (DSD)

5. Manpower Department (JTM)

6. Department of Occupational Safety and Health (Dosh)

7. Department of Industrial Relations Malaysia

8. Department of Trade Union Affairs (JHEKS)

9. Industrial Court of Malaysia

10. Institut of Labour Market Information and Analysis (ILMIA)

FEDERAL AGENCIES

1. Social Security Organisation (SOCSO)

2. Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF)

3. National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

4. Skills Development Fund Corporation (PTPK)

 

The present minister, Dato Sri (Dr) Richard Riot Jaem — who was sworn in on May 16, 2013 — attributes his success to the holistic approach that he has incorporated in dealing with his ministry’s day-to-day operations and its long-term schemes implemented for the welfare and upskilling of the nation’s labour force.

In an exclusive interview with The Borneo Post, Riot admits that his role as the Minister of Human Resources has been a learning experience in itself.

“To be very frank, when I first came into the ministry, I thought it was only going to deal with labour issues.

Only after coming in did I realise the huge responsibility I had on my shoulders.

It was really going to be a tough job,” he shares.

From looking after the interests and welfare of employees in Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak and Sabah, to ensuring adequate training and development of the country’s future workforce, the MOHR is involved with anything and everything to do with the affairs of the Malaysian workers.

Following the goals set out under the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP), Riot aims to build a world-class workforce through steady increases in the percentage of skilled workers up to 35 per cent by 2020.

Today, employers and employees nationwide stand to gain from these numerous programmes and plans being put in place.

Employers can utilise MOHR’s skill development facilities and schemes provided to upskill or reskill their employees, allowing them to enhance their human capital and drive innovation from within.

Meanwhile, SPM holders who have no plans to pursue academically oriented tertiary education are encouraged for technical schools to gain better employment prospects, while high-skilled diasporas are slowly but surely being wooed back home to take on the high-skilled roles that need to be filled urgently.

All of this has contributed greatly to the expansion of the Malaysian economy and society as a whole, helping MOHR bring to life the government’s vision of having a competent and skilled workforce.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (second left) visits the exhibition held in connection with the launch of TVET Malaysia at Adtec Shah Alam. On the prime minister’s left is Riot. — Bernama photo

 Skilling, upskilling and reskilling

To achieve this task, Riot says he and his ministry has been focusing on skilling, upskilling and reskilling the labour force through various schemes and programmes that are being made available by the different departments and agencies to the wider public.

Most notably, the skilling of youths is regarded as one of the most vital functions of the MOHR as it ensures the future survivability of industries by providing them with an adequate workforce.

“I always encourage graduates from our Malaysia Skills Certificate (MSC) Level 3 Programmes to re-enrol to MSC Level 4, in order to pursue our diploma courses to continue gaining skills as it will greatly increase their livelihood down the line,” Riot shares.

For SPM School-Leavers with no plans to pursue academically oriented tertiary education, the ministry encourages them — via awareness campaigns — to enrol into one of its 32 technical institutes across the country.

Of the 32, 24 provide various technical and vocational education and training (TVET) certificate courses to the public, with eight having diploma programmes for certificate-holders.

Besides increasing the number of certificate and diploma holders, Riot stresses that the quality of graduates is equally crucial.

“We need to produce a labour force that is equipped with the right knowledge, skills and attitude to thrive in the globalised economy where emerging new technology, digitalisation and ‘Industry 4.0’ have drastically changed what is needed for the average worker.

“Because of this, we have introduced new syllabuses to ensure that our workforce would be able to meet the needs and standards of our changing industries.”

These efforts have been fruitful, discloses Riot, as revealed by the high employability percentage reported for graduates from Miri’s Industrial Training Institute (ILP) and Shah Alam’s Advance Technology Training Centre (Adtec).

“I’m very happy to say the employability rates amongst our graduates are 92 per cent — 92 per cent (of the graduates) showcasing exactly how important TVET skills are to workers nowadays,” he says.

Adding to this, the MOHR has been pushing hard especially for youths to embrace technical courses, as it is anticipated that 60 per cent of our industries would require employees who are technically skilled in the near future.

 Focus on current workforce

With much focus being placed on youths, it appears that many members of the workforce are unable to participate due to prior financial obligations.

To address this, MOHR makes available several programmes to accommodate those currently working — some under the HRDF, and one under the DSD.

The schemes under HRDF are tailored for employees already in the workforce who are looking to upskill or reskill themselves in order to increase their career prospects.

Employers may actively participate in many of HRDF’s programmes by sending their workers for further training.

Besides that, the DSD also provides a programme called the ‘National Dual Training’, which pairs up citizens with paid apprenticeships at selected companies where they may receive offers of employment after graduating from the programme.

This programmes focuses on 30 per cent classroom learning and 70 per cent on-thejob learning, to ensure that the graduates would be able to adapt to their new jobs with ease upon completion of the course.

The skilling of youths is regarded as one of the most vital functions of the MOHR as it ensures the future survivability of industries by providing them with an adequate workforce. — Bernama photo

 Recognising prior experience learning

Riot also recognises that not all workers need further training as they may have already obtained the appropriate experience from long years on the job.

Still, they may lack the formal credentials to justify their skills.

“A lot of people in Malaysia — including Sarawak — are already very skilful with their hands, but they lack the paper accreditation that acts as proof of their skills to employers.

“A worker may be a very good carpenter or welder but because he doesn’t have formal credentials, upon seeking employment he may find that his pay is much lower than what he should be receiving because he is regarded as an unskilled labour,” Riot explains.

Understanding that this would deny a significant part of the local workforce from appropriate wages and bright career paths, Riot discloses that his ministry alongside with the Defence Ministry launched a recognition of prior experiential learning on Feb 22 this year, to help anyone with prior experience or skills from a variety of industries to officially obtain diplomas certifying their abilities.

Each applicant would be assessed in terms of their skills and competency to see if they qualify for the diploma accreditation.

According to Riot, so far more than 1,000 people have registered for the scheme, with 300 due to graduate with diplomas by the end of this year.

“While this scheme is mostly geared towards former Armed Forces personnel, I would like to stress that it is open to those who seek to upgrade themselves for better job prospects and better recognition of their skills and abilities.

“As far as Armed Forces go, they register with Perhebat (Armed Forces Ex-Servicemen Affairs Corporation), but the civilians can either register with the HRDF, or directly with the ministry (MOHR).

” Overall, Riot believes that his ministry has provided a holistic solution to the skilling, upskilling and reskilling of the nation’s workforce.

He adds that while there has been some concern on whether or not Malaysia would be able to meet the goal of 35 per cent skilled workers by 2020, he is confident that the target remains achievable.

“We have about two years to go before reaching 2020 — I am very confident that the 35 per cent target as required by the government can be achieved.

“In order to do so, I would like to especially promote the ministry to Sarawak as I believe there is still a lack of awareness and misconception of what MOHR actually does.

“I believe Sarawakians are still not fully aware of these benefits and opportunities they can obtain from MOHR,” he points out.

Riot looking at the interview registration prosses at the Job Fair organised by the Ministry of Human Resources at UTC Kuching on May 20, 2017.

Source: http://www.theborneopost.com/

Only 7% go for technical, vocational skills after Form Three

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 20 — Only 7 per cent of students across the country take up Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) after their Form Three.

Deputy Education Minister, Datuk P. Kamalanathan said various efforts had been implemented to increase the entry of students into TVET institutions and vocational colleges, besides giving them exposure on career prospects after graduating from the vocational colleges.

“The Education Ministry has been transforming the TVET since 2012 to uplift the status of this stream as a premier stream to help realise the government’s aspiration of meeting the country’s need for skilled workers by 2020,” he said in reply to a question from Nurul Izzah Anwar (PKR-Lembah Pantai) in the Dewan Rakyat, here, today.

To a supplementary question from Dr Mansor Abd Rahman (BN-Sik) on the ministry’s strategies to increase rural students’ enrolment into the vocational colleges, Kamalanathan said the measures included making publicity broadcasts via the radio channels, newspaper advertisements and collaboration with non-governmental organisations.

He said online applications for entry into the TVET institutions for the 2018 session had been opened and many applications had been received thus far.

Besides the Education Ministry, six other ministries involved in implementing the TVET are the Human Resources; Higher Education; Works; Youth and Sports; Rural and Regional Development; and Agriculture and Agro-based Industry ministries.

Source: Bernama

Preparing Malaysians for the work of the future

The integration of on-the-job training and lifelong learning into TVET curriculum can ensure that graduates are job-ready, yet adaptable to changing skills requirements.

“WHAT do you want to be when you grow up?” This is one question we have all been asked at one point in our lives, whether the answer requires a 350-word essay or just one-word, usually referring to a job.

How does one answer this same question today with automation taking place and the fact that many jobs of the future do not exist yet?

A good example is social media jobs. It is hard to imagine a high-paying social media job a decade ago and this same job may be completely transformed in the near future, if it still exists at all.

Over one-third of skills that are considered important in today’s workforce will probably have changed five years from now based on research by the World Economic Forum (WEF). The young people today will need a portfolio of skills and capabilities to navigate the complex world of work in the future.

In fact, a report by Deloitte University Press on “Re-imagining Higher Education” predicts that 50 per cent of the content in an undergraduate degree will be obsolete within five years due to the impact of digital transformation.

While we talk about the future of work — which jobs will disappear and which will remain — we also need to shift the focus to understand the skills and capabilities in demand.

Another WEF report, The Future of Jobs, identified complex problem solving, critical thinking and creativity as the top three skills out of 10 that workers will need in 2020.

Although active listening is considered a core skill today, the report said that it will completely disappear from being an important skill at the workplace. Instead, emotional intelligence is said to become one of the top skills needed by all in the future.

Linear careers, where the path begins with the choices you made in the subjects you studied at university before entering the world of work, will be far less common. There is a strong need to constructively engage employers in changing the education system in the years to come.

The allocation of RM4.9 billion for TVET (technical and vocational education training) institutions in the 2018 Budget is definitely more necessary now than ever before to prepare for the work of the future.

Malaysia plans to have 35 per cent of skilled workforce by 2020 to achieve a high-income nation status. The government has also set a goal to increase the country’s percentage of skilled workers to 45 per cent by 2030. It is about time the country upgrades its TVET system.

If there is one thing that TVET can do is that it could provide a means of tackling unemployment. Vocational education tends to result in a faster transition into the workplace and countries that place greater emphasis on TVET have been successful in maintaining low youth unemployment rates.

However, a negative social bias has often prevented young people from enrolling in TVET. Although vocational subjects are more varied, they are often poorly understood.

Many people associate vocational track programmes with low academic performance, poor quality provision and blocked future pathways that do not lead to higher education. Young people and parents shun vocational education, which they regard as a “second-choice” education option.

Academic subjects are valued more highly than vocational ones. Medicine, law and engineering are seen as career options with huge earnings potential. Several academic studies also caution against specialising vocational subjects at a young age because they are more specific and directly related to particular occupations.

For TVET to be valued as the equal of academic education, further education providers should not be overlooked.

The integration of on-the-job training and lifelong learning into TVET curriculum can ensure that graduates are job-ready yet adaptable to changing skills requirements. The funding is necessary so that TVET institutions can upgrade learning environments and invest in professional development. In return, it can raise teaching quality by increasing the qualification levels of the instructors and making pedagogical training obligatory.

Finland is one example of TVET success — a result of external and internal policy shifts — that we can learn from. The country’s systematic efforts since 2000 to upgrade the quality and status of TVET has lead to an increased percentage of application for the programmes from the Finnish youth.

TVET institutions in this country received the same basic and development funding as general education institutions. The curriculum has been restructured to include the national core curriculum required for access to university, as well as strong on-the-job training and lifelong learning components. TVET students are allowed to progress to further studies at university or applied sciences level.

Many parents’ worst nightmare is seeing their child aimlessly chasing dream without achieving anything. It is time that we should retire asking the young ones on what they want to be when they grow up.

Instead, we should provide accurate information and exposure to where future jobs will exist, including the skills to craft and navigate their careers.

It looks like learning and adapting will become more apparent in the future of workforce. As more students will find themselves doing work that does not exist, we should prepare them intellectually, socially and emotionally to continuously adapt to changes.

Source: www.nst.com.my

 

TVET getting more popular, says Human Resources Minister

Human Resources Minister Datuk Richard Riot Jaem (centre) presenting a scroll to one of the graduates at the National Dual Training System’s 3rd Convocation Ceremony at Panggung Budaya of the Sarawak Cultural Village. Pix by Goh Pei Pei

Human Resources Minister Datuk Richard Riot Jaem said TVET used to be a second option for those who did not excel academically.

“However, in the past four to five years, we noticed that students who did well academically also enrolled in TVET institutions.

“This show that there the government’s efforts, in raising awareness on the importance and potential of TVET, have worked out positively,” he said.

“Malaysia plans to have 35 per cent of skilled workforce by 2020 in order to achieve a high income nation status.

“I am confident that we can reach our target because our skilled workforce has increased from 28 per cent (in 2015) to 31 per cent this year,” he said.

Many developed countries, Richard said, also emphasised on TVET.

For instances, more then 50 per cent of the workforce in Singapore are skilled workers, he pointed out.

Speaking at the National Dual Training System’s 3rd Convocation Ceremony here, he said academic success is still relevant but there is also a need to have a workforce that is equipped with skills and technical knowledge.

He said an allocation of RM4.9 billion for TVET institutions in the 2018 Budget showed the government’s commitment towards the vision.

“I can assure you that if you are a graduate of TVET, you will have a bright future as the country needs you,” he added.

A total 173 students received their scroll at the ceremony today, having attended various courses including food preparation and presentation, homestay operation, traditional music and dancing performances and audio production.

Source: By Goh Pei Pei – 

2018 Budget: TVET Malaysia Master Plan unveiled, RM4.9bil allocated

All Technical and Vocational Education Training institutions previously under seven ministries will be rebranded as TVET Malaysia and placed under the Human Resources Ministry.

KUALA LUMPUR: All Technical and Vocational Education Training institutions previously under seven ministries will be rebranded as TVET Malaysia and placed under the Human Resources Ministry.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today that RM4.9 billion will also be allocated to implement the TVET Malaysia Master Plan.

“To encourage TVET graduates to continue their studies, the government has prepared 100 TVET Excellent Students Scholarships worth RM4.5 million,” he added.

The government will also create the National Rail Centre of Excellence in a bid to support skilled workers in the rail industry.

The centre, he said, will supervise and coordinate quality assurance, as well as national rail education and training accreditation.

Najib also said Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd, in cooperation with higher education institutions, will train 3,000 professionals in the industry.

Source: NST Online

Comment: It’s good that finally efforts can be streamlined. Hopefully the Ministry of Human Resources, especially the Department of Skills Development, has the extra capacity in terms of manpower & budget to execute policies well.

Free higher education for all, Pakatan pledges in alternative budget

Pakatan Harapan said free education is imperative to address a lack of critical thinking skills desired by employers among graduates hunting for jobs. — Picture by Choo Choy MayPakatan Harapan said free education is imperative to address a lack of critical thinking skills desired by employers among graduates hunting for jobs. — Picture by Choo Choy MayKUALA LUMPUR, October 25 — Tertiary education will be free to everyone within 10 years if the Pakatan Harapan (PH) pact succeeds in taking control of Putrajaya in the next elections.

The federal Opposition pact made the pledge in its alternative Budget 2018 today, saying such a policy was possibly as it would conduct “a full audit and study on cost, wastage and corruption factors in all public universities”.

“Pakatan Harapan believes in free public education for all. The provision of free public university education is an ideal that we must achieve within 10 years of taking over government.

“Further, we need to help our graduates increase their employability and wages. To do this, Pakatan Harapan will place greater emphasis on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET),” it said.

The Opposition alliance of PKR, DAP, Parti Amanah Negara and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia said free education is imperative to address a lack of critical thinking skills desired by employers among graduates hunting for jobs.

PH also said it would also expand the Penang government’s German Dual Vocational Training (GDVT), launched in 2015, into a nationwide programme.

It said that while the ruling Barisan Nasional administration’s Education Blueprint has identified TVET as a priority area, there are few resources for apprentice programmes.

“Under this programme, host companies are given funding to conduct on-the-job training for selected TVET students who can then go on to obtain jobs in the same companies or the same sector,” it added.

Source: Malaymailonline

Comment: Much that I laud PH’s pledge in its alternative Budget 2018 for free higher education in 10 years time should they come into power but saying that there are limited resources for apprentice programmes are not true. The government has allocated & spent quite a lot (I don’t have the figure but I can feel it as an industry player) to implement the National Dual Training System (NDTS) via the Department of Skills Development, Ministry of Human Resources. Nevertheless, it could have been better if leakages/corruption were to be minimized.

So, what’s NDTS & why NDTS? Well, that deserve another post 🙂

900,000 new jobs require TVET under 11th Plan

Haslina (centre) presents a certificate to a graduand, as Mohd Nizam looks on.

MIRI: About 1.5 million new jobs are expected under the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP) and 60 per cent of these jobs will require qualifications in technical and vocational training.

Ministry of Youth and Sports Deputy Secretary General (Strategic), Haslina Abdul Hamid said this shows that Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is instrumental in providing the skilled manpower required for Malaysia to become a developed country by 2020.

Haslina said this when officiating at Institut Kemahiran Belia Negara (IKBN) Miri 10th Convocation Ceremony in Meritz Hotel yesterday. Also present at the function was IKBN Miri director Mohd Nizam Ismail.

“To fulfil the demands of industries, ‘Programme 20:50’ which aims to have 50 per cent skill courses by the year 2020, especially for those serving in the frontline in ILKBS (Ministry of Youths and Sports Training Institutes), will use English as a medium of instruction.

“As communication is among the soft-skills required in the job market, English has become an important element to equip and prepare these ILKBS students,” she said.

The ministry is hoping to attract and encourage youths to take up skill courses with ILKBS especially at IKBN Miri.

At the convocation ceremony 292 graduates received certificates in Automotive (178), Mechanical (18) and Hospitality (96).

“The ministry is also proud that there are some ILKBS alumni members who are serving in various industries within and outside the country, becoming successful entrepreneurs and earning high incomes,” she said.

Haslina disclosed that based on a research, the average monthly income for ILKBS graduates is between RM3,000 to RM60,000.

Comments: Unfortunately, in the race to achieve the numbers, the Ministry overlooked on the quality side. There’s some loopholes & weaknesses where so called experienced candidates who are not that expert in their field are able to obtain their SKM (Sijil Kemahiran Malaysia) via the RPEL  (PPT) method.

Source: The Borneo Post

Despite election budget, Malaysia still needs to tackle long-term structural problems: Experts

Despite election budget, Malaysia still needs to tackle long-term structural problems: Experts

After failing to get a job with her engineering degree, the Ipoh woman became a maid to make ends meet.

It is problems like these that economists say must be tackled in Budget 2018 even though it’s likely be filled with “election goodies” targeted at the ruling coalition’s traditional supporters.

Aid and handouts are important for a significant portion of the population in 2018, but structural reforms to solve issues like youth unemployment and stagnant wages are critical for the country in the next five years.

“It will be timely for Budget 2018 to catalyse the shift towards private sector-led and market-based approaches,” said Dr Yeah Kim Leng of Sunway University’s Business School.

“(This is) to address the stagnant wage, weak employment growth, low productivity and over-dependence on unskilled foreign workers.”

Other issues that experts said the government needs to deal with include being disciplined with how it spends public funds and reducing barriers to business to drive more investment.

Although the government is expected to spend more in 2018 over expectations that revenue will increase, it should not overspend, said Dr Yeah.

“The budget should continue its prudent and disciplined path of fiscal consolidation and deficit reduction as this will ensure sustainable growth, enhanced investor confidence.”

Economist Lee Heng Guie said whatever extra money that is earned should be spent efficiently.

“The government should stay the path of fiscal consolidation to ensure optimal deployment of resources and preserve fiscal stability,” said Mr Lee, who is with the Socio-Economic Research Centre.

“With a broad-based consumption tax (the goods and services tax), the federal government does not suffer from a lack of revenue (so) it’s important not to overspend and to plug leakages,” he added.

This year, the economy grew at a stronger pace after a slump of two years, said Mr Lee, powered by consumer spending, rebound in private investments and a strong surge in exports.

“Real GDP (gross domestic product) growth roared back to expand strongly by 5.7 per cent year-on-year in the first half of 2017.”

This has allowed the overall unemployment rate to remain low at 3.3 per cent.

But the youth unemployment rate hit 10.6 per cent in 2016 and about 23 per cent of university graduates are unemployed, said Mr Lee, which is a worrying figure.

“The youth employability must be tackled both at the supply- and demand-side equations. It is not just a simple mismatch between training and job requirements.”

It is a problem that is closely tied with the rapidly changing technological landscape, the quality and investment in universities and industries’ addiction to cheap, unskilled foreign labour, experts said.

Mr Lee noted that getting more youths back in the job market requires more money and emphasis on technical and vocational education and developing entrepreneurs.

Economist Raja Rasiah of Universiti Malaya said that the government should consider introducing incentives for the creation of a dual-training system like how Germany does it.

The renowned German education system sees vocational schools and small and medium companies work together to produce highly skilled workers for industries. It has been credited for keeping youth unemployment low.

Dr Rajah added that more money should be spent on creating entrepreneurship programmes in public and private universities.

Mr Lee said policies to help companies to invest in the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” will also create new skilled job opportunities.

“The revolution is essentially about ‘smart factories’, leveraging on robotics, digitalised data censoring, the internet of things to reap cost savings in real-time quality control and maintenance.”

This calls for targeted incentives and grants, investment capital allowance and high-tech Industrial Adjustment Fund to facilitate more manufacturers, especially small and medium enterprises to automate and embrace industrial internet, he observed.

Upgrading the country’s industrial base will also help deal with another economic bugbear – addiction to low-skilled foreign workers.

Manufacturing firms need to be pushed more to upgrade their operations so that they relied less on low-skilled foreign workers, Dr Rajah stressed.

Lawmakers such as Mr Liew Chin Tong, said that Malaysia’s unchecked use of low-skilled foreign workers had led to depressed wages for everyone.

“(An) influx of unskilled foreign labour hurts the wages of Malaysians at all levels, not just for labour,” Mr Liew wrote on his blog.

“Since there is abundance of supply of labour, workers have no bargaining power to demand better pay and conditions in the ‘race to the bottom’ for wages.”

The use of less-skilled foreign labour in export-oriented firms has also reduced the pressure on firms to upgrade, said Dr Rajah.

Source: THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT

Malaysia needs 45pc skilled workforce by 2030

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 20 — At least, 45 per cent of the total workforce need to be skilled workers by 2030 to help realise Malaysia’s goal as a developed high income nation, says Yayasan Melaka International College chief executive Datuk Saroni Judi.

He said in this regard, the skilled workforce needed to be upgraded with continuous training to be more competitive in employment and to command higher earnings.

“Efforts in empowering TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) have resulted in TVET gaining more recognition in the world for its role in the economic development of the country.

“Malaysia has almost 28 per cent skilled workers and targets to raise it to 35 per cent by 2020, while a developed nation like Switzerland has almost 50 per cent skilled manpower,” he added in a statement here today.

Saroni said investment in education was important to contribute to the wellbeing of the people inclusively and sustainably where the government through human resource development programmes allocated RM50 million to create competitive workers at global level.

Apart from that, the government was also committed to ensure TVET was implemented effectively by recognising the field as the third thrust in the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP), he said. — Bernama