Skills for Prosperity South-East Asia Programme

Skills for Prosperity Programme in Malaysia

Funded by the United Kingdom government, this project aims to increase national capacity for inclusive economic growth through more productive and equitable skills and TVET systems in order to improve employability, employment opportunities and earning potential of workers in Malaysia.


Aiming for high-income status by 2030, Malaysia is boosting productivity and competitiveness. The development of a high-skilled workforce and the promotion of diversity in the workplace are key to this endeavour.

The government has identified technical and vocational education and training (TVET) as a ‘game changer’ for achieving inclusive growth. It has thus implemented several TVET reform policies. However, there are many remaining challenges in foreseeing future skills demand, harmonising the TVET governance systems, promoting equity and inclusion, and enhancing industry engagement.

The Skills for Prosperity Programme in Malaysia (SfP-Malaysia) works with government, employers’ and workers’ organisations and other local and international stakeholders to address these challenges and make the Malaysian workforce resilient and adaptable to the changing world of work.


As part of the International Labour Organization’s Skills for Prosperity in South-East Asia Programme, SfP-Malaysia aims to increase national capacity for inclusive economic growth through more future-ready and equitable skills and TVET systems in order to improve employability, employment opportunities and earning potential of workers in Malaysia. It focuses on four areas of outcomes and outputs.


Broadening women’s and vulnerable groups’ access to TVET and skills systems through:
  • Gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) audits in TVET /skills development institutions.
  • Enhanced national strategies to promote GESI in TVET.
  • Pilot initiatives in Sabah and Kedah, Malaysia’s underdeveloped states, to build capacity of local TVET/skills training institutions and develop local TVET networks.
  • Career progression maps for women and vulnerable groups in two selected sectors—construction and manufacturing.


Improving coordination and future readiness of TVET/skills systems through:
  • Upgraded national occupational skills standards (NOSS) and curricula that are responsive to changing industry skills needs.
  • Integration of generic skills related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) into TVET and skills training.
  • Labour market predictive analytics for future skills demand.
  • An integrated TVET information management system shared across relevant government agencies.

Relevance to industry skill needs

Enhancing the relevance of TVET/skills training to long-term employers’ skills needs and workers’ upskilling aspirations through:
  • Industry upgrading maps and sectoral skills development strategies.
  • Institutional mechanisms for enhanced industry engagement in TVET/skills training.
  • Enhanced Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL)—a process that gives formal qualifications for skills a worker acquired through informal or on-the-job learning.
  • Pilot programmes for skills-based wage system development.
  • Enhanced work-based learning modalities.


Improving financing modalities for TVET and skills development systems by developing alternative industry-led funding mechanisms including apprenticeships.

Focus sectors

Given the diversity of skills needs by sector, the programme adopts sectoral approaches to skills development by means of examining current and future skills demand and supply from the perspective of a particular industrial sector. It focuses on the construction and manufacturing sectors due to their good prospects for growth, employment, upskilling and potential to promote GESI.

Construction: The demand for skilled workers will likely increase due to further mechanisation of construction processes and the development and maintenance of ‘smart buildings”, which require digital and green technologies. Both the government and employers have given high priority to development and recognition of skills in this sector.

Manufacturing: This sector has been the driving force of industrialisation and employment generation for both male and female workers in Malaysia. There is high potential for upskilling since increasing application of digital technologies is likely to increase the demand for skilled workers, including technical support service staff such as maintenance technicians.

Programme approaches

  • Formulating TVET and skills development policies through in-depth situational analysis and international comparison
  • Building technical know-how of public agencies and industries towards delivering inclusive and future-ready TVET and skills training at national and sub-national levels.
  • Adapting international best practices for inclusive TVET and skills formation systems suitable for Malaysia’s institutional context and then developing scalable, replicable and sustainable models for further application in the country.

For further information please contact

Junichi Mori
Chief Technical Advisor
Skills for Prosperity Programme in Malaysia