Never before has training been more instrumental in a nation’s prosperity than in the current knowledge and skills-based economy. In the construction industry, apprenticeships that used to suffice in yesteryears are no longer adequate to guarantee a skilled workforce for increased productivity. In recent times, for the dire shortage in skilled local workmen, the country has been heavily dependent on foreign labourers to fill in the void in certain trades. This unfortunately is counter-productive to the nation’s economy in the long run.
For this reason, Malaysia’s Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB), in the pursuit of enhanced human resource for the construction industry, presents an opportunity for young Malaysians to acquire a formal training for a career in construction through their Youth Skills Training Programme held at CIDB’s own Malaysian Construction Academies (Akademi Pembinaan Malaysia, ABM) as well as several CIDB qualified training centres located nationwide - completely free of charge.
The programme primarily aims to enhance Malaysian’s own skilled workforce in the construction industry and henceforth reduce the dependence on foreign workers in this trade. Just as importantly, it is hoped that the training offered will produce a sterling labour force that will not only be more productive and efficient but also possess an increased awareness of safety standards and quality workmanship, skilled at handling the most up-to-date construction technology – qualities that would render them a highly-sought after exportable commodity. Target groups for the programme include youth in the 16 to 35 age bracket, either school leavers (categorised as the youth group, or Belia) or existing construction personnel (categorised as Personel).
The programme offers ten trade-based pathways from which participants could select specific courses to enrol in: Building, Industrialised Building Systems, Crane Operation, Plant Operation, Mechanics and Electrical, Drafting, Civil, Welding, Blasting and Painting and Non-Destructive Testing (NDT). All of the courses – totalling sixty modules which include two uncategorised courses, Construction Diver and Rope Access Technician – have been designed and are delivered by CIDB’s highly-qualified personnel, based on what they have identified to be key areas in construction which require training. Both the theoretical and practical aspects underpinning each area are dealt with thoroughly and rigourously.
Welding, for example, is one of the key areas which have been given due attention in this training programme. A course in Welding is one of three levels, each of which takes five days to complete for existing construction workers i.e. the Personel group. School leavers, or Belia, however, will spend a month to complete the first level and two weeks each for Levels 2 and 3. Level 1 is offered at the At Level 1, participants of either group will learn about 1G, or flat Welding, the Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) Process, and Carbon Steel. Advancing to Level 2 will require a certification of 1G Welding (from either CIDB or other recognised institution) and introduce trainees to 3G and 4G Welding, the SMAW, GTAW (Gas Tungsten Arc Welding), GMAW (Gas Metal Arc Welding) and FCAW (Flux-cored Arc Welding) Processes, as well as the welding materials Carbon Steel, Stainless Steel and Aluminium. A certification of 3G Welding is a prerequisite for enrolling into Level 3, in which trainees learn about the welding processes and materials covered in Level 2 as well as 5G, 6G and 6GC Welding.
The incentives for enrolment include the internationally recognised CSWIP, or Certification Scheme for Welding and Inspection Personnel with which successful trainees can pursue a career anywhere in the world. The Belia group is also provided with free lodging and food, T-shirts and safety helmets as well as an allowance of RM50.00. There have also been trainees who move on to a higher education in architecture and engineering as a result of the exposure obtained from the courses.
CIDB’s training centres, or ABM’s, located by region in Sintok (Northern Region)Kuala Lumpur (Central); Tampoi (Southern); Kuala Berang (Eastern); Kuching (Sarawak) and Kota Kinabalu (Sabah) are equipped with the facilities required for the courses it provides. The training is also provided at the numerous Pusat Giat MARA and Institut Kemahiran Belia Negara (IKBN), and The Welding Institute (TWI) in Sungai Buloh. There are plans to increase the number of centres in which the courses could be offered, so that more young Malaysians may have the opportunity to enrol in the courses and benefit from them. Thus far CIDB has been successful in this charitable venture, but they hope that more youth will come forth and take the opportunity to be trained and become highly-skilled with the technologies that drive the construction industry, and ultimately contribute to the development of the country.
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