How TVET education in Greater Kuala Lumpur supports global tech needs

As a burgeoning metropolis, Greater Kuala Lumpur (GKL) teems with industrial potential and is fast becoming a central hub for various future-forward multinational corporations (MNCs). The secret to its burgeoning success? A proactive education system that not only keeps pace with but also predicts the technological needs of these global powerhouses. This proactive stance is no accident – it results from deliberate government action. Let's take a look at how policies under the Malaysian government are making this possible.


Mind-empowering education policies in Greater Kuala Lumpur


Technical and Vocation Education and Training (TVET)

Under the aegis of Industry4WRD set by the Ministry of Investment Trade and Industry, TVET institutions in Malaysia are being reshaped to foster a generation of workers proficient in globally demanded high-tech skills. The policy is a concerted effort to pivot Malaysia’s workforce towards the fourth industrial revolution, focusing on enhancing innovation and productivity. Initiatives like the National Dual Training System, which integrates classroom learning with practical, on-the-job training, ensure that students graduate with hands-on experience that meets industry standards.


The Eleventh and Twelfth Malaysia Plans

The 11th Malaysia Plan (2016–2020) champions TVET as a cornerstone for growth, highlighting the importance of aligning educational outputs with industry needs. It advocates for enhanced TVET-MNC collaborations to tailor curricula to the dynamic requirements of a tech-driven economy in Greater Kuala Lumpur.

Meanwhile, the 12th Malaysia Plan (2021–2025) advances the TVET framework set by its predecessor, integrating it with Industry 4.0 initiatives to address challenges like foreign labour dependency and improve nationwide student engagement. Through technologies like virtual and augmented realities (VR/AR) and artificial intelligence (AI), the plan seeks to support and accelerate hands-on learning and research. This approach is expected to yield a nimble labour force capable of uplifting Malaysia’s standard of living while navigating the dynamic demands of a tech-influenced economy.


Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013–2025

Under the guidance of UNESCO’s comprehensive reviews, The Malaysia Education Blueprint (MEB) 2013–2025 narrows the Malaysia Plans’ focus on TVET as part of educational reform to match industry needs. It aims to steadily advance public-private partnerships in skills training, ensuring the workforce meets the practical demands of a dynamically evolving job market. Among the many goals achieved so far? As of 2023, the MEB substantially elevated education quality, demonstrated by a narrowed urban-rural academic performance gap, enhanced internet access in schools, and an increased global standing through improved PISA rankings.


Tax Incentives

The Malaysian government has increased the tax deduction cap from RM1,000 to RM2,000 for fees paid towards courses recognised by the Department of Skills Development. This strategic move not only encourages individuals to enhance their skills but also motivates MNCs to contribute to TVET programs. Such incentives enrich partnerships in curriculum development and practical training, ultimately building a proactive and skilled tech workforce in tune with global industry foresight.

Speaking of MNCs: They are pivotal in leveraging these strategic policies to drive GKL’s tech education and development. Through their collaboration with educational institutions, these companies can effectively cultivate a pipeline of skilled talent poised to meet the demands of a tech-driven future. Now, let’s delve into how these MNCs leverage these policies to propel the development of Malaysia's future-ready workforce.



Huawei

In 2020, China’s Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. officially onboarded Kolej Kemahiran Tinggi MARA Petaling (KKTM) Petaling Jaya as a Huawei ICT Academy. This endorsement aligns with Huawei's global initiative to enhance ICT and IoT skills. The collaboration offers KKTM students valuable certifications like HCIA in routing and switching, Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, and big data, boosting their employability in the Industry 4.0 scene. By promoting hands-on training with Huawei's products, KTTM aims to meet industry demands and cultivate highly skilled graduates for Malaysia's industrial needs.


Shell

Shell Malaysia is no stranger to TVET needs. Through its well-known Scholarship Programme, the company invests in undergraduates specialising in up-to-date science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills critical for the energy sector. Meanwhile, its Shell Graduate Programme accelerates career growth, offering graduates hands-on experience in technical and vocational roles, international assignments, and community STEM projects.


HSBC

In 2019, HSBC Bank Malaysia partnered with MySkills Foundation to launch a vocational training initiative for at-risk Malaysian youths. This 12-month program, supported by a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and witnessed by the Minister of Human Resources, aimed to equip Malaysian students with technical skills in electrical and plumbing, enhancing their employability. HSBC's funding has facilitated not only skill acquisition but also job placements. This step enabled the company to address Malaysia's need for skilled TVET workers per the 11th Malaysia Plan.


IBM

IBM's P-Tech program in Malaysia exemplifies a robust commitment to nurturing TVET by providing a practical bridge between education and industry requirements. With a focus on "new collar" job readiness, the initiative strengthens the technical curriculum through mentorship and real-world exposure, courtesy of partnerships with vocational schools and universities in Kuala Lumpur. This collaborative effort ensures students gain cutting-edge tech skills and the professional acumen needed for the evolving digital economy, aligning with the region's strategic push for a skilled and agile tech workforce.


Telekom Malaysia (TM)

TM has pledged RM3.5 million towards TVET Madani, a national initiative that enforces vocational education with industry-specific modules in the name of graduate employability. The investment includes RM2.5 million for upgrading training facilities and RM1 million in scholarships, particularly for B40 students. TM's initiative, aligning with government efforts, will prepare students for real-world digital and fibre network jobs, offering nearly 400 annual positions within its business ecosystem.


Microsoft

Microsoft Malaysia is advancing the nation's digital literacy through its Bersama Malaysia initiative, nearing its goal of skilling one million Malaysians by 2023, with 85% completion already. With local universities and governmental bodies as partners, including Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM), the company has launched programs to bolster students' digital competencies. Microsoft has solidified its commitment through MoUs with the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) and top talent agency TalentCorp by integrating its global resources to facilitate employment opportunities with various industry partners. This skilling journey is part of the company’s nationwide Talent in Tech Accelerator Program, which aims to bring Malaysia’s future-ready workforce to life


GKL is rapidly becoming a model for tech education that other regions aspire to emulate. Its blend of government policies and corporate involvement effectively gives rise to innovative education programs that help prepare a future Malaysian workforce adept at navigating the complexities of the modern tech landscape.

Here in GKL, education is evolving in lockstep with industry advances, ensuring that graduates are not just job-ready but are equipped to lead in a highly competitive, rapidly evolving global market. This collaboration between education and industry signals that this fast-growing region is on track to becoming a global epicentre of tech excellence.

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