Skills and employability

Young Kedah workers to benefit from new skills initiative

The new partnership will help the youth and the workforce in the state gain the skills needed to increase their employability.

Press release | 11 April 2021
YB Dato’ Wira Dr. Ku Rahman Ku Ismal, Kedah State Senior Executive Council Member for Industry & Investment, Higher Education, Science Technology & Innovation, speaks at the ILO-KISMEC-UK initiative launch on 11 April 2021. ©KISMEC
KEDAH, Malaysia (ILO News) — A new initiative launched today will strengthen technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in Kedah by helping the youth and the workforce in the state, especially those from vulnerable groups, gain the skills needed to increase their employability.

The initiative brings together the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Kedah Industrial Skills and Management Development Centre (KISMEC) through the ILO-led Skills for Prosperity Programme in Malaysia (SfP-Malaysia), which is funded by the UK government.

Over the next 16 months, KISMEC will work closely with the ILO and stakeholders in the state — including government agencies, industry partners, social enterprises, civil society organizations and community leaders — to foster Kedah’s TVET and skills training ecosystem. The programme will incorporate and recognize skills and employment needs of women, youth, low income earners, small- and medium-sized business owners, and workers in the informal sector.

KISMEC will assess and identify industry skills needs and develop training programmes, including post-training support, in the construction and manufacturing (food processing) sectors. It will also pilot apprenticeships, upskilling and recognition of prior learning (RPL) programmes. RPL is a process that gives formal qualifications for skills a worker acquired through informal or on-the-job learning.

The partnership will furthermore improve institutional coordination among TVET and skills organizations, with aims to reduce the mismatch between skills training and industry needs in Kedah. It will also inform development of strategies and policies at the state and national levels and in other industrial sectors.

The ILO will provide technical support through sharing of relevant guidelines and tool kits for the development of training modalities and enhancement of the TVET and skills network.

“This is very much aligned to Kedah’s vision for a thriving and liveable state, as encapsulated in the Kedah Strategic Development Plan 2035”, said YB Dato’ Wira Dr Ku Rahman Ku Ismal, Kedah State Senior Executive Council Member for Industry & Investment, Higher Education, Science Technology & Innovation referring to the initiative.

“We hope that the programme will continue beyond 2022 and replicable to all TVET institutions not only in Kedah but also nationwide,” he added.

His Excellency Charles Hay, British High Commissioner to Malaysia, is thrilled with the launch of the initiative. He said, “This TVET and skills initiative will help youth, women, low income earners who need support with employability. It couldn’t have come at a better time to prepare this vulnerable group as the economy and job market recover from the pandemic. The Skills for Prosperity programme is a great example of how the UK is supporting Malaysia in its aspirations for an inclusive and sustainable economic recovery.”

En. Mohd Yusuri Yusof, KISMEC Executive Director, said the initiative will establish an enhanced TVET network with the stakeholders through close discussions and communications. “In all participation, we will look at gender equality and social inclusion not only in the 100 training participants but also in our TVET network, trainers, policy makers and industry players,“ he added.

Participants at the ILO- Kedah Industrial Skills and Management Development Centre initiative launch on 11 April 2021. ©KISMEC
Panudda Boonpala, Deputy Regional Director of ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific said, “This project will play an important role in upskilling and reskilling workers as well as recognising skills obtained through informal channels. It will help graduates and workers in Kedah become more resilient and employable as well as support the labour market during this time of transition.”

Kedah is well on track to become a centre for high-value industries in the manufacturing and agriculture sectors, supported by industrial areas such as the Kulim Hi-Tech Park and the Special Agro Economic Zone.

However, some challenges remain in terms of quality employment opportunities, skills utilization and gender equality. Skills mismatch has become a persistent issue, while the graduate unemployment rate is higher than the national average, standing at 4.1 per cent in 2019 compared to the national rate of 3.9 per cent.  Meanwhile, the average salary for male graduates is higher compared to their female counterparts. Additionally, female labour force participation was 50.1 per cent in 2019, which is lower than the national average of 56.1 per cent.

KISMEC’s prominent role in the Kedah TVET sphere makes them a strong partner, with an extensive collaborative network of industry and training institutions. Since its establishment in 1993, KISMEC has trained more than 30,000 skilled and semi-skilled employees, school leavers and new graduates in various technical, vocational and management skills development programmes.

SfP-Malaysia is part of the ILO-led Skills for Prosperity in South-East Asia Programme (SfP-SEA), which also operates in Indonesia and the Philippines and is funded by the UK government. The programme aims to enhance equity, quality, relevance and cost-effectiveness of TVET and skills systems in the three countries. Apart from the partnership with Kedah state, the Malaysian programme runs a similar initiative in Sabah and works with government, employers’ and workers’ organizations at the national level to support the Malaysian government’s TVET reform policies.

For further information please contact:

Surasak Glahan
Communication and Information Management Officer
ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
Mobile: +66614507337