SEPTEMBER 24 — Searching for a job seems to be an age long challenge. Competition among graduates with the same type of qualification vying for similar positions, lack of ability in crafting outstanding resumes, scarce network from within the industry upon graduation– these are all common challenges synonymous with the job search dilemma.
Although challenging, higher education institutions (HEIs) in Malaysia have managed this issue well by achieving beyond 80 per cent of graduate employability. This year however, the job search challenges are further amplified with fewer than usual job openings due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Numerous companies are downsizing, leaving many jobless. Considering this, graduates can no longer merely rely on their certificates, diploma or bachelor degrees should they wish to come out of the job search victoriously.
Over the span of 7 months within this year, we have witnessed changes in many areas of our lives such as the increased levels of dependency on information communication technologies (ICT) for work, entertainment and socializing. We also experienced an increased reliance on gig economy service providers such as Grab Food and the likes. While some struggled to find jobs, others created their own by utilizing social media. Some YouTubers who once treated their postings as a favoured pastime found themselves catapulted into stardom which now draws in rather handsome pay checks. This brings about the realization that we must do things differently.
To help graduates attune themselves to the new demands of the job market, the government has allocated RM100 million for the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE/KPT) to conduct a Career Advancement Program (CAP)known as “PENJANA KPT-CAP”. This program aims to reskill and upskill the participating graduates by further enhancing their existing abilities and knowledge.
This program consists of 3 sub programs, namely the Place and Train, Entrepreneurship and Gig Economy. Place and Train is a program that provides competency training by industry players to the participants of the PENJANA KPT-CAP. Upon completion of the training, some participants will stand a chance of securing a job placement in the participating industries. The Entrepreneurship program on the other hand will of offer insights on the vital know-hows of kick starting a company including methods to secure funding. Finally, the Gig Economy program will provide competency training that will aid participants to generate income through engagements in gig economies in the form of freelancing.
The four to six weeks’ program comprises of three modules. The first module on soft skills will cover topics such as leadership and team work, problem solving and decision making, writing and presentation skills, communication skills, social media marketing, etc. The second module will cover competency accreditation (i.e. Place and Train, Entrepreneurship and Gig Economy). Finally, the third module will cover mentoring, coaching, and preparation for the job market.
The PENJANA KPT-CAP will be conducted by academics, practitioners and industry players at selected HEIs nationwide. At the end of the program, participants will be given a certificate of competency from participating agencies. Obtaining such accreditation will certainly add value to their certificate, diploma, or bachelor’s degree and beef up their current resume. It should also function as an indicator of their enhanced capabilities to industry players looking to hire.
Eligible participants are graduates who did not manage to secure a job in 2019 as well as those who have graduated in 2020. Each participant will be fully funded to undergo one of the three above-mentioned sub programs which is valued between RM 4,000 to RM 5,000 per person. Should there be any participants interested in undergoing two or all three sub programs, they may do so by covering the additional costs independently. To gain more information and/or sign up for PENJANA KPT-CAP, graduates can visit http://great.mohe.gov.my/
The high impact PENJANA KPT-CAP program will be launched by the Prime Minister, YAB Tan Sri Datuk Haji Muhyiddin bin Haji Mohd Yassin on the 28th of September 2020 at the Dewan Canselor Tun Abdul Razak, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM). With the program beginning in October 2020, it is hoped that participating graduates will secure job placements in the first quarter of 2021 if not earlier.
While there is no instant remedy for the challenges faced, nevertheless, MoHE is diligently working to alleviate some obstacles for graduates in search of their first jobs. Having said that, it is hoped that graduates do not allow the waves of change to knock them off their feet, but instead to learn and ride them.
*Datuk Noraini Ahmad is the minister of higher education.
**This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.