Labour expert advices graduates to look at TVET for better job prospects
Hakimie Amrie Hisamudin | Free Malaysia Today (FMT)
Free Malaysia Today (18 December 2021) - The International Labour Organization (ILO) has suggested for Malaysia a shift of emphasis from academic education to technical and vocational education training (TVET) as a way of dealing with the issue of employability among graduates.
Junichi Mori, chief technical adviser of the ILO-UK Skills for Prosperity programme in Malaysia, cited data from the higher education ministry to show that TVET and skills training graduates had better chances of finding employment than those with higher education degrees.
The 2019 statistics show that polytechnic graduates had the highest percentage of employment at 81.2% followed by graduates of vocational colleges at 76.7%, community colleges at 74.4% and those from other public skills training institutions at between 57.1 and 71.4% compared with 62.8% for those from tertiary education institutions.
“This gives some indication that qualifications in skills training such as the Malaysian skills certificate (SKM 1-5), TVET and diplomas are viable alternatives for promoting employment.” Mori told FMT.
He said TVET could help reduce the skills mismatch and increase employment opportunities if the programmes were relevant to current and future industry needs.
Going for TVET could also reduce student loan repayment problems.
“If tuition fees for courses such as TVET are lower than for some university courses, students may borrow less.
“However, if TVET graduates’ income is relatively low and does not progress over time, it may take some time for them to repay. Therefore, it is important to ensure that TVET graduates earn decent salaries.
“Otherwise, young people will keep pursuing university degrees, regardless of the cost,” he said.
Mori said it was unfortunate that TVET remained as the second choice for education in Malaysia despite the high percentage of employment of TVET graduates.
He surmised that this could be because people were not aware of the high percentage of employment opportunities, there was a lack of confidence in developing their career in the long run or there was doubt that they could get a decent income with TVET qualifications.
“It is important to increase awareness of the benefits of joining TVET by showing not only the high percentage of employment available but also what sort of jobs they can obtain and how they can develop their careers and skills,” he said.
“I hope the Labour Market Information Analytics Platform, which the government has been developing as an initiative under the 12th Malaysia Plan, will contribute to providing better quality information about career prospects.
“It is necessary to ensure the long-term progress of TVET graduates’ careers and income. People will hesitate to choose TVET over higher education if the prospect for career progression and income increase is not very clear.”
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