Deputy Higher Education minister Datuk Dr Mary Yap Kain Ching (centre) with British High Commissioner to Malaysia, Her Excellency Vicki Treadell (left).

KOTA KINABALU: Asian parents should not be averse to their children being chosen for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), as the path could lead to gainful employment and a successful, fulfilling career.

British High Commissioner to Malaysia, Her Excellency Vicki Treadell, who is half-Malaysian Chinese, said cultural attitudes in Asia have stereotyped TVET as the “backup choice” for those who are not clever enough to excel in university.

“University is not the only route to a successful profession and career. You are taking both paths (TVET and University) for good, but they take you to different routes into the future.

“Being in TVET places someone in a better position in the long term and (they) become more employable,” she said during a press conference after launching the inaugural TVET seminar here.

Treadell shared her own experience starting as a junior clerical officer with the British Foreign Office, instead of going to university at the age of 19.

She was assigned her first overseas assignment two years later.

“When I was 23, which is the age of the graduate entrant, I already had 4 to 5 years of work experience, and it gave me better confidence than graduate entrants.

“Besides learning the skills (required at) the organisation you are in, young employees will also learn soft skills and interpersonal communication earlier,” she said, adding that TVET is getting better recognition from governments all over the world.

The seminar was organised by the British High Commission and the Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority (Sedia) to revolutionise human capital and boost productivity to support growing industries and the economy in the state.

Meanwhile, deputy Higher Education minister Datuk Dr Mary Yap Kain Ching said the government is dedicated to producing TVET graduates who meet industry demand and standards.

Among initiatives taken have been engaging industry players and stakeholders in TVET curriculum design, providing more industrial training, and encouraging practitioners to teach at colleges and universities.

According to the ministry, a record 97.4 per cent of community college students are employed upon graduation; while the figure for polytechnic graduates stand at 85 per cent.

There are 33 polytechnics, 94 community colleges and four technical universities in the country.

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