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IAC to address HR challenges in E&E sector

IAC to address HR challenges in E&E sector

It aims for collaboration between universities, government
entities and industries to develop tertiary education curriculums. It will
include internship programmes and industrial training to enhance graduate
employability. The programme costs RM30 million and is funded by TalentCorp.

Launched by International Trade and Industry
Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed at the Semicon Southeast Asia 2015
microelectronics exhibition at the Spice Arena in Bayan Lepas, Penang, this is
the first IAC to take off under Budget 2015.

“This isn’t our first time working with TalentCorp
[but it’s been] mostly on an ad hoc basis. What we are doing now is creating a
strong marriage, a structured approach, to address human capital challenges and
fill the gaps in the E&E sector,” said Mustapa.

While noting the existence of other collaborative
initiatives to address the needs of the E&E sector — such as Crest launched
in 2012 — Mustapa hopes the IAC can be another example of how close
collaboration between industries and universities can result in university
curriculum enrichment to enhance graduate employability.

Such collaborations will include short courses,
electives, final-year projects, adjunct lecturers and sabbaticals in the
industry. They are expected to commence this year.

“There’s been a lot of industry engagement with
respect to [university] curriculum development. The feedback we get is that
Malaysia is strong in hardware, like machines and automation, but when it comes
to software, there are a few gaps to be filled,” said Mustapa. “The priority is
to further improve soft infrastructure, and this is where collaboration between
the industry and academia is very important.”

The IAC partnership follows the launch of
Malaysia’s National Higher Education Blueprint 2015-2025 in early April, and is
in line to equip Malaysian graduates with skills for high-income career paths.
At the moment, an estimated 53,000 Malaysian graduates remain unemployed after
six months of graduating.

This collaboration also comes at a crucial time. A
World Bank report finds that 62% of Malaysian firms face difficulty finding
talent with the right skills, while 48% of companies identify a lack of talent
as a constraint for future growth.

“This [partnership] is about producing the right
supply of graduates, and the most sustainable talent supply is our local pool
of universities,” said Johan Mahmood Merican, chief executive officer of

“This ensures that we have industry-ready-quality
graduates for the growth of the sector — for all the priority clusters of the
electronics sector.”

The IAC initiative will be introduced to other
priority industries besides the E&E sector. These include machinery and
equipment or advanced engineering, medical devices, oil and gas, transport —
including automotive, aviation and maritime, chemical and petrochemical, health
care and communications, content and infrastructure.

The E&E sector is one of Malaysia’s 12 National
Key Economic Areas. In 2013, Mida estimated it accounted for 32.8% of
Malaysia’s exports and 27.2% of total employment. Almost half of Malaysia’s
manufactured exports in 2014 — RM231.2 billion — were E&E exports.

On a separate note, Mustapa added that the event is
the first Semicon microelectronics exhibition held outside Singapore.

“This is a success for Malaysia. We’re a major
player in testing and packaging, 20% of the world’s market. The organisation of
the event in Penang shows confidence in Malaysia as far as testing and
packaging are concerned … in promoting not only E&E but also

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial
, on April 23, 2015.


Emily Chow


The Edge Financial Daily

23 April 2015