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Strengthening skills supply is key to build resilience for IR4.0 — Ideas

Strengthening skills supply is key to build resilience for IR4.0 — Ideas

03 Feb 2023

Strengthening Malaysia’s skills supply will be key to preparing the services and manufacturing sectors for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4.0), according to the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas).

Chief executive officer Dr Tricia Yeoh said that as an upper middle-income country, having a sizable semi-skilled workforce backed by a growing skilled workforce is seen as a healthy sign.

“There is an urgency to develop our skilled workforce before we enter into the aged society status, where the trend would be irreversible,” she said in a statement today.

According to the Malaysian think tank, the lack of skilled workers is one of the major factors hampering Malaysia’s ongoing development.

“Given that skills today are both emerging and becoming redundant at a rapid pace, Malaysia’s ability to identify and create those skills must be just as fast. 

“Besides just focusing on technical skills, the Malaysian education system should shift towards a more holistic model which also imparts necessary soft skills such as communications, marketing, teamwork and leadership,” it said.

The research institute also outlined several policy recommendations, including encouraging greater collaboration between the private sector and training institutions, upskilling and reskilling the workforce, and streamlining Malaysia’s current Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programmes.

“A more structured approach in targeting micro, small and medium enterprises with support is also called for,” it said.

Dr Juita Mohamad, the institute’s director of Research, Economics and Business Unit, highlighted several challenges faced by the skills institutions in meeting current and future demands.

“For one thing, the current governance model of the TVET system in Malaysia is complicated, with multiple government ministries overseeing TVET and TVET accreditation systems.

“There is also an inadequate collaboration between industry and skills institutions, which prevents the latter from developing a clear, accurate understanding of what employers are looking for in candidates,” she said.

Juita also added that access to labour market information, including current and future skills, is crucial to ensure that Malaysia’s skills supply can meet the demand.

Source: Bernama