‘Meeting Of The Minds’ Sets Stage For Human Capital Devt In S’wak

KUCHING: The just-concluded ‘Meeting of the Minds’, co-organised by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Research and Sarawak Skills Development Centre (PPKS), has set the stage for a host of initiatives focusing on talent development to meet the needs of Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE).

Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Dato Sri Michael Manyin officiated at the opening of the programme in a hotel in Bintulu recently.

In his address, Manyin highlighted that the programme was timely and in tandem with the state government’s ongoing initiatives and strategies to boost economic development.

He said to boost human capital development in Sarawak and prepare for Industry 4.0, his ministry had identified relevant issues, challenges, needs and opportunities to formulate a comprehensive plan to improve the education system in Sarawak.

A key area was to address the mismatch of skills among university graduates.

The minister emphasised that one of the strategies formulated by the ministry was to increase enrolment in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)-related fields in schools, technical and vocational education and training (TVet) and institutions of higher learning.

He shared that the national target for STEM education was 60 per cent but in Sarawak, it was only around 19 per cent. The ministry had also implemented various initiatives to improve English language proficiency in schools.

In this respect, he urged PPKS and other training providers to emphasise English as the delivery language.

Moreover, he stressed that various strategies would go a long way to boost the ongoing human capital development initiatives and keep at bay, the curse of the luxury of natural resources � the paradox that certain countries with great natural resource wealth tend to have slower economic growth than resource-poor countries.

Manyin also said the state government had emphasised the importance of TVet in producing the much-needed human capital to support the state’s development initiatives.

In this respect, he hoped that the ‘dual training system’ � as practised in Germany � be implemented in Sarawak.

Under this system, students (apprentices) would spend three days in the industry and two days in their college or university. Each apprentice would also receive a monthly allowance from the company throughout the apprenticeship.

Under the dual system, the students upon completion of their studies would have industry-relevant skills that would facilitate their transition to the workplace.

Earlier in his speech, PPKS executive director Hallman Sabri highlighted that the ‘Meeting of the Minds’ was an ideal platform for the government, academia and key industry representatives from the energy-intensive heavy industries located in Samalaju Industrial Park to engage in lively discourse on various issues such as ‘Strategic Human Capital Development’, ‘Industry 4.0’ and ‘The Advances in Materials Science’.

He also expressed his confidence that the dialogue and workshop sessions would enable the industries to highlight their human capital development needs, including current and future workforce needs.

As Sarawak progresses towards its goal of becoming a developed state by 2030 with a high-income economy, the contributions of all stakeholders would be of utmost importance to develop the workforce for the various sectors of industry, including those in SCORE.

Hallman said to support the state’s development initiatives, PPKS would set up a Metallurgy and Materials Science Training Centre aimed at providing relevant training for the industries in SCORE and nationwide.

In this respect, he emphasised that the signing of two memoranda of understanding (MoUs) during the event � first between PPKS and the Institute of Materials Malaysia, followed by the one between PPKS and Materials Processing Institute, United Kingdom � would pave the way for PPKS to offer Certified Training Programmes (Materials Science and Technology Programmes) from these institutions.

This would also facilitate the exploration of joint initiatives in the area of customised training programmes, consultancy, and research and development (R&D).

Hallman also took the opportunity to express his thanks to Manyin and his team from the ministry, the Regional Corridor Development Authority (Recoda), the British High Commission � Kuala Lumpur, various representatives from the industries, as well as distinguished speakers comprising representatives from the government, industry and academia, for their tremendous support in making the ‘Meeting of the Minds’ a reality.

Others present at the event were Recoda chief executive officer Datu Ismawi Ismuni, PPKS management council secretary Dato Maznah Dasmi, Ministry of Education, Science and Technological research

policy and employability section head Zulkipli Ismail who represented Datu Sudarsono Osman, the ministry’s permanent secretary, as well as Materials Processing Institute (UK) chief technology officer Alan Scholes.

Meanwhile, several ‘Meeting of the Minds’ delegates joined a visit to Press Metal Bintulu Sdn Bhd, Pertama Ferroalloys Sdn Bhd and OCIM Sdn Bhd as part of their programme.

For more information on training programmes including customised corporate training courses offered by PPKS Training and Consultancy Department, call 082-364198 / 361535.

Information can also be obtained via www.ppks.edu.my.

Source: The Borneo Post