Saturday, 5 April 2014
THE direction has been set by the recently launched National Automotive Policy, NAP 2014, to develop Malaysia as the hub for energy-efficient vehicle (EEV) in the region.
The objective entails high caliber, technically knowledgeable and skilled human resource as a major attribute to ensure the successful transformation from the conventional vehicle to EEV manufacturing.
Although many of the current manufacturing assets, knowledge, experiences and skills within the automotive industry ecosystem will remain useful in this new national venture, but new EEV relevant technologies, design ability, materials engineering and processing knowledge are foregoing inputs required by the industry.
Malaysia Automotive Human Capital Roadmap (MAHR), which was recently introduced following the announcement of NAP 2014, outlines a continuous plan towards developing competent workforce at every level within the automotive industry. The road map includes plans to develop specific skilled manpower to support the national EEV venture and will consequently produce more skilled workforce with high-income salary. The EEV venture is expected to generate some 187,000 additional employment opportunities by r 2020.
Industry driven human capital development is key in producing the right skills workforce relevant to the entire automotive ecosystem and is a means to produce the manpower in a shorter period. New engineers and technical personnel with very little industry exposure at the time they were learning their trade in university require a longer period to learn and to adapt to the automotive working environment.
MAHR identified five thrust areas to produce the right manpower for the automotive industry moving forward. The first thrust is to aggressively pursue digital engineering technology and to develop human capability in its application.
Digital engineering uses computer-aided technology to realize highly complex products in shortest time possible when developing a vehicle.
The successful implementation of a Digital Engineering and Prototyping Programme (DEP), a collaborative effort between Malaysia Automotive Institute (MAI), a local OEM and local vendors in 2012, is testimony to the ability of local engineers in this new technological front.
The second thrust of the MAHR is to focus on industry driven adoption and adaption of engineering education among local universities.
The four members of "Malaysian Technical University Network (MTUN)," namely; Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP), Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP), Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka (UTeM) dan Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM), are recognized as capable of producing high calibre engineering graduates for the local automotive industry.
Two apprenticeship programmes have been implemented by MAI and proven to be successful as most of the students involved are readily employed by the industry upon their graduation and are able to perform effectively upon their entry into the workforce.
MAI has spearheaded an "Industry Led Professional Certification (IPC)" programme as an initial initiative of the third thrust. The IPC is focused on producing workers that are able to undertake the diverse range of skills required by the industry from manufacturing to the after-sales activities. The programme offers the participants training placements in appropriate automotive companies with an option for permanent employment upon satisfactory completion.
In view of the vast number of technically specific upcoming manpower requirements to support both for the conventional and EEV manufacturing, reviewing the existing and introducing new curriculum and skill standard governing those institutions is deem necessary. One of initiatives in this direction, which is the fourth thrust of MAHR, is the appointment of MAI as the Industry Lead Body (ILB) for the automotive sector by Jabatan Pembangunan Kemahiran (JPK).
MAI will be responsible to coordinate programmes that bring together training institutions and industry players to develop a curriculum and and set the industry standards.
The experience accumulated by industry veterans are identified as a source of input into the future automotive endeavors. These skilled workers who have remained loyal to the industry have a demonstrated capability acquired through self-learning throughout their entire careers. The upskilling and retraining of these workers is the fifth thrust identified by the MAHR.
Two programmes, namely; "Pentauliahan Pencapaian Terdahulu (PPT)" and "Sistem Latihan Dual Nasional (SLDN)", has been introduced to certify these skilled workers whom have developed their learning through formal or informal education assessed by the Lifelong Learning Concept. PPT awards "Sijil Kemahiran Malaysia (SKM)" certificates based on past working experience without formal assessment exercises, while SLDN provides training and certification in association with the industry.
MAHR will remain a dynamic document and is subjected to continuous review so as to ensure manpower development strategy and programmes remain relevant to guide Malaysia towards becoming the EEV manufacturing hub of the future.