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Equipping Malaysians with future-ready skills

Equipping Malaysians with future-ready skills

10 May 2023

by C. Sathasivam Sitheravellu

THE employment market’s future is undergoing significant changes in terms of skills and knowledge due to the technological revolution, which is moving at a faster pace.

Today, various industries are experiencing the impact of IR 4.0 (Fourth Industrial Revolution), which is progressing with genetics, artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology, 3D printing, renewable energy, and biotechnology, among others, by building and amplifying one another.

The Human Resources Development Corporation (HRD Corp) is organising a National Training Week (NTW) from May 22-28, with the objective of creating lifelong learning for Malaysians and equipping the workforce with relevant work skills and knowledge for the future.

The NTW aims to create greater awareness by offering 5,000 free courses for learning and development through various channels, including remote learning, physical causes, hybrid learning and self-paced e-learning.

However, critics are questioning whether the courses offered by HRD Corp are worth the training value and whether there is a return on investment for the estimated RM250 million spent on them.

They are also questioning whether the courses meet the business needs of various industries and whether they can upskill, reskill or multi-skill their employees with the current labour market.

While the impending change is taking place in the employment market, it poses major challenges that require proactive adaptations by corporations, governments and individuals.

The current technological revolution sets broader socio-economic, geopolitical and demographic drivers of change. As entire industries adjust, most occupations are undergoing a fundamental transformation.

While some jobs are being threatened by redundancy and others grow rapidly, existing jobs are also going through a change in the skill sets that are required to perform the job.

Human resources directors and strategy executives need to be well aware of the current shifts in employment skills and recruitment, specifically for skill stability, across industries and geographies, to quantify the degrees of skill disruptions with an occupation, a job family or an entire industry.

However, it is also clear that there is a need for more talent in certain job categories, considering the instability of high skills across all job categories. The question then arises as to how businesses, governments and individuals will respond to these developments.

To prevent a worst-case scenario of technological change accompanied by talent shortages, mass unemployment and growing inequality, reskilling and upskilling of today’s employees will be critical.

While much has been said about the need to reform our basic education, with greater emphasis on technical skills in technical vocational education (TVET), it is not possible to weather the technological revolution by waiting for the next generation’s workforce.

Instead, businesses must take an active role in supporting the current workforce through retraining, individuals must take a proactive approach to their life-long learning and the government must create the enabling environment, rapidly and creatively, to assist these efforts.

In particular, business collaboration within industries to create a larger pool of skilled talents will become indispensable as will multi-sector skilling partnerships that leverage the same collaborative model, underpinning the many technology-driven business changes underway today.

The positive aspect of the NTW is that it will create greater awareness of the importance of upskilling and reskilling for our graduates, teenagers, professionals, senior citizens, business chambers and industry associations.

As for the minimum wage debate, the focus should be based on various aspects, such as qualification, experience and skill levels of employees.

Only if an employee has a professional certificate can they command higher wages as a skilled employee.

The writer is a HR Consultant.

Source: The Sun Daily