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A group picture of bursary recipients under the skill enrichment programme.
A group picture of bursary recipients under the skill enrichment programme.

YAYASAN Sime Darby aims to create more Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) opportunities for youths through a new initiative called the YSD Skill Enrichment Programme.

In line with the national aspiration to equip youths with employable skills that meet labour market demands, the programme is set to benefit 400 youths annually as compared to 35 under YSD’s previous annual allocation for TVET bursaries — with focus on assisting those from underprivileged and marginalised backgrounds.

YSD chairman Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Ja’afar said the programme will see the organisation working with four strategic partners: the Department of Polytechnic and Community College Education under the Ministry of Education (MOE), Sime Darby Industrial Academy, Ramsay Sime Darby Healthcare College, and KRU Academy.

“This is to provide more scholars with technical skills and assist with job placements upon the completion of their training courses,” he said in his welcoming address at the launch of the programme held in Kuala Lumpur last week.

Through YSD’s collaborations with its TVET partners, the fields of vocational study opportunities offered under the programme are broadened to support more Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and creative arts courses.

Tunku Imran added that it was reported that currently, almost 90 per cent of TVET graduates have been able to get a job after graduation. With the support of the foundation’s TVET partners, YSD intends to push the number higher.

The event also saw YSD hosting its annual Scholarship Award Ceremony with the foundation awarding over RM21 million worth of various scholarships and bursaries to 584 deserving individuals, a majority of which are from underprivileged households.

Among others, 264 vocationally inclined students received a total of RM6.61 million for the skill enrichment category to pursue diploma in engineering, diploma in architecture, diploma in quantity surveying, professional certificate in 3D animation, diploma in nursing and medical assistant under MOE’s Polytechnic and Community College Department, KRU Academy, Sime Darby Industrial Aacademy and Ramsay Sime Darby Healthcare College.

Under YSD Special Needs Bursary Programme (undergraduate and diploma bursaries for persons with disabilities), 29 recipients received more than RM1.04 million.

The YSD Special Support Bursary programme (undergraduate and diploma bursaries for students with monthly household income of RM4,000 and below) saw 216 recipients with bursaries worth RM7.56 million.

39 students with outstanding academic achievement and strong leadership qualities were awarded excellence scholarships worth RM4.75 million to pursue pre-university, undergraduate and postgraduate studies at universities in Malaysia, United Kingdom and China.

YSD also celebrated individuals with compelling stories who have weathered many challenges to beat the odds. Among them was TVET scholar Muhammad Afiq Aminuddin, who was awarded the YSD Role Model Award 2020.

Afiq, 29, who hailed from a single-parent B40 household in Penang completed his Certificate in Heavy Equipment from Sime Darby Industrial Academy in 2011. He worked at Sime Darby Industrial - Tractors Malaysia as a mechanic and electrician in heavy equipment maintenance and is now an accomplished field mechanic for Baker Hughes, an international energy technology company.

Muhammad Firdaus Abu Hassan, 29, the recipient of YSD Inspirational Award 2020, has proven that success is not beyond reach despite disability and poverty. Being completely blind since the age of 14, he remained ambitious and tenacious in chasing his goals.

He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology & Sociology, and then a Master of Professional Counselling, both with flying colours. His life story was documented and analysed in a postgraduate study to understand the development of resilience in the underprivileged.

Education has been the main thrust of YSD since its inception in 1982 to offer wisdom, expertise and assistance at all levels of education to promote and advance what people believe they can achieve, especially the underprivileged.

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