Joint Synergy to Upskill the Industry

The competitive world is no longer confined only to the technology or electronics sector. It is now a common challenge faced by everyone in the workforce. Whether it is a top-down approach or adoption via a flat organisation structure, the agenda for competitive upskilling has just gotten more important.

In answering the needs of the demanding marketplace, the National Dual Training System (NDTS) has been formed. It is an industryoriented training programme which combines
workplace training with an education institution’s training. It is a new approach in developing skills competencies, and as instrumental tools in achieving a highly skilled oriented industry.

The concept is to conduct the training in two places; 70% in the actual work-related industry, and the other 30% at accredited training centers. The successful apprentices are awarded with Malaysian Skills Certificate (MSC) or Malaysian Skills Diploma (MSD).The objective of this programme is to widen the opportunity for those seeking quality technical education and adding value to all future workers as apprentices who have joined

the course through the implementation of National Occupational Skills Standard (NOSS) as MATTA playing its part in contributing to the NDTS from the tour and travel sector.
its guidelines. This will move Malaysia towards the direction of matching skills with industry requirements and becoming a developed nation by 2020.

The Deputy Prime Minister in launching the collaboration programme with the Vocational Schools in 2013 urged students, coaches and companies to be involved in this training. With their inclusion, they can be major contributors in driving Malaysia to achieve a high-income country status.

The programme was aimed at establishing robust cooperation between the public-private agencies and geared towards the ‘Blue Ocean trategy’. It also acts as a platform to realise the concept of ‘Strategic Partnership’ between the government and the industries involved in NDTS. It is hoped that through such collaborations, it will raise awareness and improve the perception of society towards skills training, thus increasing the number of highly skilled workers in the job market as well as MSC or MSD holders.

The Holistic Foundation of NDTS

The NDTS method was created to streamline the delivery of Technical Education and Vocational Training (TEVT) in inculcating and producing knowledge workers (k-workers) with three foundations; technical competence, social & humanity, and methodology & learning.

The special features in NDTS compared to other training programmes are the need for competent coaches and trainers to be embedded into the program. Course materials must also incorporate human values and social skills, and be made part of the learning process. By taking the holistic approach, both the learning skills and methodology deployed will undoubtedly form part of the efficient technical delivery of the content. This is a value added component that is sorely needed by the workforce in today’s highly-competitive job market.

As mentioned above, the National Dual Training System’s (NDTS) objective is to expand the access to quality TEVT and add value to future workers and apprentices to better
match the needs of modern industry. With the course, their skills are expected to be markedly improved. With this in mind, enrollment of apprentices alone is forecasted to increase up to 60,000 participants by 2020.

Deputy Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi also lent his voice to NDTS, “Through the theme of ‘Mainstreaming Skills Training’, it gives meaning to the country’s
future. This could change the negative perception of skills-based education. Hopefully, TEVT will be a preferred path for the best students in the country.”

The diverse range of skills training within the framework has now been expanded to seven new fields, they are Information Technology & Communication, Business, Health Science,
Arts & Culture Support System, Sports Industry, Transportation, and Marine Engineering Technology. This brings the total courses available within the NDTS to 53.

Upskilling As Positive Reinforcement

With the NDTS, the government is serious about providing more upskilling opportunities to our graduates. In fact, it now opens up a new path where they can further hone their chosen skills that commensurate with their academic qualifications from Degree right up to the Master and PhD levels.

While it may be new to some, the Ministry of Human Resources has actually started to promote the NDTS programme since 2005 beginning with a pilot-phased project conducted by four Government Linked Companies (GLCs). Now, after about a decade and with assistance from the Department of Skills Development, some credible smart partnerships have already been formed across the different industries. For example, the National Automobile Industry Malaysia (Proton), the Malaysian Equine Council (MEM), and the Malayan Railway (KTM Berhad), just to name a few. These companies have been willing to assist in providing the apprentices with facilities, practical training and exposing them to the professional employment environment of the real world. In other words, they get a shot to be part of the industry.

Private Entity Involvement

To date, more than 4,000 companies have taken on the challenge to participate in the training programme and some have reaped the rewards for their sacrifice and investment into the young apprentices. The day-to-day activities in the working environment provides them with the best training ground to sharpen their skills and thereby improve the quality of their work.

The competitive edge provided by these younger and sometimes more talented apprentices have also been known to contribute to staff morale at the workplace. Staff retention is
said to have improved while the cost of business has not been compromised despite the enlarged “workforce” with the NDTS programme. This is largely due to the better working environment that contributes to increased productivity without overloading the existing staff with additional tasks and working hours.