Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas has expressed his hope for Sarawak to have more community colleges, particularly in areas that yet to have such facility.
“This will allow our youths to obtain skills and knowledge after having completed their SPM or STPM studies, so that they will be able to find employment.
“Now, there are many SPM and STPM graduates who remain unemployed because they do not have the skills (as required in the job market). The industries out there need skilled workers. For instance, SCORE (Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy) alone needs around 300,000 skilled and semi-skilled workers by 2020,” he said after having officiated at the convocation ceremony for Sarawak Community College students at the old State Legislative Assembly complex near here yesterday.
According to Uggah, of the more than 90 community colleges nationwide, there are only six in Sarawak – one each in Kuching, Santubong, Mas Gading, Betong, Sarikei and Miri.
“There is room for more (community colleges in Sarawak),” said the Modernisation of Agriculture and Rural Economy Minister, also hoping that the Community College Education Department could plan a syllabus slated for helping and developing the local agriculture industry.
“We have around one million hectare of oil palm plantations across the state, with around 100,000 foreign workers being employed. I hope the community colleges would be able to train our youths so that they would have the skills for the agriculture industry.
“This is also part of the transformation of agriculture where we need entrepreneurs who have talents.”
Uggah also called on industry players to cooperate with local community colleges, viewed as a good platform to equip the trainees with the skills relevant to the industries.
“Make sure that there would be a match between the labour market and what is required (by industries).
“With the involvement of industries, the (community) colleges will be able to tailor (their training and syllabus) to industrial needs. This measure has been effective so far in helping to tackle the problem of unemployment among youths,” he said.
Earlier in his speech, Uggah pointed out the importance of having more community colleges in Sarawak in line
with the objectives laid out under the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP).
“The government is emphasising on technical and vocational education and training (TVET) to develop skilled human capital meant for a high-income economy.
“Under 11MP initiatives, 1.5 million new jobs will be created by 2020, with 60 per cent needing skills related to TVET,” he said, urging youths to grab the opportunity to take up the courses and programmes offered by community colleges so that they would more marketable after graduation.
Uggah also reminded the graduates that their pursuit of knowledge should not end with their graduation.
“It is hoped that all graduates would continue to pursue knowledge and step up their skills to higher levels.”
The ceremony was also witnessed by Community College Education Department deputy director-general Mohd Nasir Abdul Ghani, Mas Gading Community College director Nor Dalila Abdul Rahman who is also the event organising chairperson, as well as her counterparts from other local community college.
Source : Antonia Chiam@The Borneo Post Online