Saturday June 30, 2012
Your 10 questions with Amirnuddin Mazlan
1. What is the core function of the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF)?
We have been in existence since 1993. We collect the human resource development levy from employers and return it dollar for dollar to employers who contribute to the levy through training grants. It is only claimable through training. The current focus is to improve the skills of the Malaysian workforce. We want to have at least 50% of the workforce to be skilled, defined as at least a diploma or SKM3 (Sijil Kemahiran Malaysia) and above. The current level of the skilled workforce is 29% and our target is to achieve 33% by 2015. From now on, our role to 2020 is to train as many workers as possible.
2. How do you improve the skills of workers?
We are embarking on e-learning and distance learning programmes. We allow employees to claim their levy for these programmes. We have spoken with Asia e-University, Wawasan Open University, Universiti Putra Malaysia and Universiti Sains Malaysia to get them involved.
We also want to recognise those who have the experience and expertise but do not have certification. We will acknowledge them and give them SKM3 or 4 so they can be considered as skilled workers. Through this system we will pay the registration or certification fee of RM300 per level. We have an allocation of RM1mil for this.
The third strategy is to encourage all employers registered with us to increase the hard skills of employees. We want to create high-value jobs, in line with vision 2020.
We will approve training programmes that fall within the definition of upskilling. We don't to approve all types of programmes any more, we are more focused today. At the same time, we also provide modular courses.
Upskilling is important because after the SPM (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia), about 70% of students do not enter college. We do not want them to be left out.
We want to train them. Leaving them untrained will lead to social problems. At the same time, we are left with a workforce without skills.
3. Can you name some of the major initiatives which have been completed in the last few years?
This would be in the areas of up-skilling and re-skilling. When an industry is no longer relevant, or is deemed to be a sunset industry, we quickly train the workers to prepare them for new industries. They will not be left idle. Last year, we did this for 360,000 people and 400,000 in 2010. We also started the HRDF senior management programme where we did not just concentrate on factory floor training.
We started with Cambridge in 2011 but this year we have five programmes.
We have talked to top universities in the United Kingdom, Taiwan and China to deliver training on global leadership. The certificates are internationally recognised.
These programmes are limited to only 20 to 25 people at a time. The universities are quite particular about who they select and they sieve through the participants.
The response for the Cambridge class last year was 26, and 29 for this year, and 62 for Cranfield.
All these programmes are done on site (overseas) except for two, the Cranfield masterclass and the Taiwan university programme. We are bringing in two more University of Leeds and University of York for human resource management, which will be done here. For the courses overseas we reimburse the participants for accommodation, meals and transport.
4. What is your background?
I was seconded by the Government to HDRF in 1998, as director of finance.
After that, I became the deputy CEO, and then the CEO in 2010. I started off with Miti (International Trade and Industry Ministry), the Domestic Trade, Coorperatives and Consumerism Ministry and Mindef (Ministry of Defence) in finance roles.
5. What do you do for unemployed graduates? Can the manufacturing sector employ more people?
We assist the Government to equip those who have degrees but whose qualifications may not be suitable for an industry, for whatever reason.
We provide value-added training to enable them to be gainfully employed. We have absorbed about 2,000 unemployed graduates so far.
We have the STAR and ASET programmes, which started last year. Some of the programmes are jointly certified by Australia.
As for the importance of our manufacturing sector, about 60% of the workforce are in manufacturing jobs, while services make up 40%.
However, the interesting part is the contribution to gross domestic product is the other way around.
6. What is your success rate for these programmes?
We have appointed a consultant to measure the impact and effectiveness of these programmes as well as of HRDF as a whole.
The International Islamic University is one of the consultants. For the STAR programme, some 80% of the trainees managed to secure jobs.
7. What are some of the biggest challenges to creating 50% of skilled workforce by 2020?
Why are employers not taking the lead to train their employees?
The biggest challenge is that employers are unable to see the fruits of training. It is tangible and can be seen through increased productivity and performance of the business. Productivity can mean so many things reduction in wastage and absenteeism and increase in sales. It can be measured.
But employers cannot see the relationship between training and productivity because the return on investment is difficult to measure. There is a need to do a study on this the relationship between training and productivity.
As for why employers are not taking the lead to train their employees, up to 99% of businesses out there are small and medium-scale enterprises and they can't afford to train people.
It would be difficult for external trainers and universities to come here.
8. What are your views of job-hopping by Gen Ys?
They should not job hop. You must gain experience first, and this can only be done when you've been on the job for a while, for example between four and five years.
Then you get the expertise and knowledge. You can't be looking for a job every six months. It does not reflect well on your curriculum vitae.
9. Are you cooperating with Talent Corp on any initiative?
We are talking to Talent Corp about recognising HR professionals.
We intend to certify HR professionals. We have been asked to talk to international HR associations to bring their programmes here. We will be talking to private institutions like CIPD (UK) and SHRC (Singapore).
We started the process about three months ago. We are now trying to get them to come here to run programmes by January.
10. What are your most popular schemes and training programmes?
The most popular scheme is SBP (Skim Bantuan Latihan). It is flexible in the sense that approval is given within 24 hours by HRDF online.
Any type of training is claimable under this programme.
About 80% of our RM300mil budget will be channelled to this programme.