Efforts to help employees improve their skills and equip themselves with the knowledge needed to keep up with the rapid changes in technology require a strategic framework and clear communication between the government and industry players.
Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) president Datuk Dr Syed Hussain Syed Husman said with the advancement of Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR 4.0), multiple technologies have begun to be utilised to automate tasks in various industries, including manufacturing, healthcare and customer service.
“According to the World Economic Forum report, 50 per cent of workers will need to enhance their skills and get retrained in order to stay employed in the next two years. This process of skill enhancement and retraining entails the learn, unlearn, and relearn cycle that must be done systematically.
“With the rapid advancement of IR 4.0, businesses must be assisted in transitioning from rigid organisations with manual procedures and systems to a digitally enabled, agile, flexible workplace that leverages the power of data and analytics to improve customer experience,” he told Bernama.
He proposed that the government allow the private sector to use public training institutions’ equipment and facilities to train workers, especially at night and on weekends when they are not in use.
“In addition, the government should establish a central body such as the Malaysian Qualifications Agency to regulate Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions and programmes in the country,” he said.
In the meantime, Syed Hussain said that the country now has only 28 per cent skilled workers, despite the target of increasing it to 35 per cent over the past few years.
“In most developed countries, the percentage of skilled workers is generally above 50 per cent. Therefore, there is a need to recognise the skills of existing workers especially through the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) programme,” he said.
Meanwhile, National TVET Development Association chairman Mohamad Yaccob said several TVET programmes that have started using new technologies in the face of IR 4.0 to increase the marketability of graduates and ensure that they are able to meet the needs of industry.
“We also need to look at the demand from the industry so that we can increase the number of TVET institutions to produce more skilled graduates in various fields such as automotive and mechatronics.
“However, there are still issues that must be addressed and studied in detail by all parties involved because we are concerned about graduates who have been equipped with new skills but have no employment opportunities,” he said.
Mohamad said that among the issues raised was the mismatch of skills and jobs for TVET graduates, which plagues institutions and industry players.
“Therefore, industry players and TVET institutions must communicate and work together to determine what equipment is needed or how many skilled workers are needed to meet the demand for skilled workers and to keep up with the changes in IR 4.0,” he said.
On June 26, Human Resources Minister V. Sivakumar said that as many as 4.5 million Malaysians are likely to lose their jobs by 2030, if they do not improve their skills or attend reskilling and upskilling programmes with the rise of artificial intelligence (AI).
Following that, he said RM7.2 million has been allocated for workers to be equipped with the knowledge and skills required by industries such as mechatronics, electrical and electronic engineering, data analysis and information technology.
Source: BERNAMA News Agency