The Association for Community and Dialogue welcomes Human Resources Minister M Kula Segaran’s remarks at a seminar on safety and health on 5 October that his ministry is in the process of producing booklets listing critical occupations in the future and these would be distributed to Malaysians nationwide in due course.
The ministry is heading in the right direction and in conformity with International Labour Organization Convention 142: Human Resources Development.
It is hoped that more information such as employment trends, required skills, safety and health issues in a given occupation, and industrial laws could be incorporated in the booklet.
The minister’s passionate promotion of technical and vocational education and training, which offers courses related to critical occupations, illustrates the sense of urgency in the ministry to ensure that Malaysians, especially the youth, are well aware of future job opportunities as they make their education plans.
The booklet on occupations of the future will help youths to discern the type of courses that have better opportunities for employment. By being well informed, Malaysian youths will be able to choose the right courses, and this would also influence education institutions to fine-tune their education modules.
A well-informed worker who is aware of economic trends, the changing nature of jobs, safety and health and industrial laws is vital for making rational decisions. Information should empower youths to take a proactive approach in shaping their destinies.
As a human resource practitioner, I have met a number of youths who took up courses offering skills not critical to industry. This resulted in them being jobless for a long time. They tend to be surprised when I tell them that having a diploma or degree alone is not a guarantee of jobs.
For example, a jobless man in his thirties once came to see me. He had an IT diploma and worked on a contract basis as a supervisor in a well-known company. When he lost his job due to a lack of business, he went to various other IT companies looking for employment but was unsuccessful.
I asked him when he obtained his IT diploma, and he replied that it was in the 1990s. There have been so many technological developments in IT occupations since then, and this young man had not kept abreast of the latest technology. I advised him to upgrade his skills by enrolling for technical and vocational education and training courses in the nearest town.
This example clearly shows there is a lack of awareness of occupations, technological change and development among our workers. Providing comprehensive information on employment opportunities will therefore be critical in making our youths more aware of occupations and employment trends in the future.