Minister of Human Resources M. Kula Segaran (center) witnessed the exchange of documents with Human Resources Secretary-General Datuk Amir Omar (left) and Dong Zong Chairman Tan Tai Kim (right) at the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Dong Zong and the Ministry Human Resources at New Era University College, Kajang. NSTP/ROSELA ISMAIL

KAJANG: All Industrial Training Institutions (ILPs) nationwide will extend their operating hours to allow workers to re-skill themselves after working hours.

Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran said the ILP’s operating hours will be extended from 5.30pm to 11pm to provide opportunity for workers interested in learning new technical skills as well as upgrading their existing skills to enrol at ILPs.

“There is a shift in the mind-set of the government where they want to enhance Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) of workers in the country.

“When workers are re-skilled, they can immediately get a job and this can solve 50 per cent of workers shortage issue in the country,” said Kulasegaran.

He said almost 94 per cent of TVET graduates have a guaranteed job waiting for them, while the remaining six per cent have chosen not to enter the workforce.

Kulasegaran said all ILPs have been given the directive to extend their operating hours and some have already complied.

“We are trying to encourage more ILPs to follow suit as this would not only give more opportunities but would also encourage more competition among them,” he said.

These training programmes, he said, would be free of charge for those in the bottom 40 income group while for others, most of the programmes would still be free of charge.

Kulasegaran said currently skilled workers in Malaysia only stands at 28 per cent of the workforce while developed nations, including Singapore, have almost 50 per cent of skilled workers.

“When someone is qualified, they are able to earn even more and the skills will take them to the next level.

“According to the 11th Malaysian Plan, we are targeting to increase the number of skilled workers to 35 per cent by next year.

“If in 60 years we could only achieve 28 per cent of skilled workers it will be humanly challenging to achieve that but we are trying our best,” he said in a press conference after the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Dong Zong, the United Chinese School Committees Association of Malaysia and the Human Resources Ministry.

Through the MoU, students from private Chinese schools would be able to enrol into skill learning programmes in 32 Manpower Department Training Institutes (ILJTM), nationwide.

The MoU would also allow the Human Resources Ministry to offer the Vocational Training Officers course to TVET educators from private schools under Dong Zong.

As of now there are 61 private Chinese schools which are under the purview of Dong Zong and out of that, 19 schools offer vocational programmes to its students.