• Madani Sahari

Bridging programmes to help enhance graduate employability

New suggestion by the OPEC nations to cut oil production last week may cast some light in the horizon for a gradual global economic recovery.

Oil price at USD26.05 a barrel was the lowest on Thursday the 11th, and the next day the USA crude oil was up by 12% to USD29.44. Its biggest one-day rise since 2009.

High oil price volatility are still expected by some traders for sometimes to come.

Hopes of production cuts by OPEC members will certainly reduce the current global oil glut, which will lead to increase in demand and hence increase in prices.

It is a hope that this new development will alter the current global economic condition favourably.

The effect of every economic downturn on the rate of employment is one of the primary concerns. Prior to the 1998 financial crisis, the nation was enjoying a rate of employment at 2.4 % and as the crisis escalated the rate of employment heightened to 3.2% while the Ringgit devaluation stood at RM4.50 to a US Dollar.

The rate of employment of the Malaysian workforce have remained averaging at 3.25% since 1998, reaching an all-time high of 4.5% in March of 1999 and recorded low of 2.70% in August of 2012.

While the labour market condition remains favourable for 2015 and overall unemployment rate remained well below the 4% threshold of full employment, a concern remained on the unemployment situation of the nation youth and graduates.

Statistically those unemployed are amongst the youth between the age of 15 to 29, both graduates and non-graduates.

While six out of ten of those unemployed are below the age of 24.

Despite the current unfavourable economic climate some 88% of employers are maintaining or increasing hiring in 2016.

However lack in English language proficiencies and soft skills are the main weakness amongst the youth depriving them from being employed.

Absence of work experience amongst the graduates is another factor discouraging employers from recruiting fresh graduates. Lacks of skill sets required of the workplace too is depriving the graduates from being employed.

Writing skill, communication ability, problem solving methodology, creativity and innovativeness, time management and team works are amongst the graduates’ weaknesses depriving them from securing employments.

To enhance the employability of graduates for the automotive sector Malaysia Automotive

Institute (MAI) as introduced bridging programmes focusing on strengthening the weaknesses of the graduates.

“Automotive Industry Certification Engineering” or AICE, introduced in August 2012, was mooted out of industry feedback on various teething problems they encountered when employing newly graduated engineers.

Apart from imparting the required soft skills the graduates are also equip with knowledge on important industrial practices such as quality management, Lean Production System and Design Engineering.

These soft skills were extensively introduced for a period of two months during the AICE training and the remaining ten months the graduates are stationed and working full time at various automotive related companies which will eventually employ them upon their completing the programme.

“Industry Led Professional Certificate” or IPC, is a bridging programme developed for those graduated from Community College, skill training institutions and polytechnics to help their adaptability to automotive work environment.

Apart from soft skill training participants are exposed to on-the-job training on specific area of technical skill as required by the participating companies which later will absorb them as their employees.

To date some 10,600 skill workers were trained under this programme whom are all now employed by the participating automotive companies.

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