Skills for Prosperity South-East Asia Programme

Workshop paves way for further developing Malaysia’s workforce with the right mix of skills

Current and future skills needs for construction and food processing industries discussed at ILO online gathering

News | 05 March 2021
5 March 2021--The International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Skills for Prosperity Programme in Malaysia on 2 March 2021 held a virtual workshop to share and discuss initial findings of its industrial sectoral situational analysis of the construction and food processing industries in the country in the lead-up to the implementation of its various activities.

Participants discussed the ILO industrial sectoral situational analysis of the construction and food processing industries in Malaysia.©ILO
“This study will form a basis for the two sectors to eventually come up with industry upgrading maps and sectoral skills strategies as a blueprint for skills development programmes that can produce workers with the right skills set in response to industry needs”, said Junichi Mori, the programme’s Chief Technical Advisor.

The interim report provides a sectoral overview in terms of structures of the two industries, growth prospects, current and future skills demand and mismatch, and status of gender equality and social inclusion. It also highlights industry trends and implications, the challenges of upscaling businesses, an overview of supply chains and labour market analysis. The study provides a closer examination not only at the national level but also at the sub-national level of two states, Sabah and Kedah, where the programme will implement pilot activities such as development of localised training models and enhancement of the skills ecosystem.

Representatives of government agencies, employers and workers’ organisations, the British High Commission and the ILO joined and shared their insights and suggestions for further development of this study.

This interim report will be further improved following feedback and comments provided by key participants during the workshop regarding the different needs of large businesses and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the necessity to stimulate skills demand, and the impact of new technologies and green jobs.

Chuan Yeong Ming, a former vice president of Master Builders Association Malaysia (MBAM), emphasized the need for TVET and skills development systems to involve the private sector more as well as government policies to stimulate skills demand.

“There should be a lead or initiative taken by the private sector to ensure there’s future demand for such skills in the market”, he said, following the presentation of the report’s initial findings.
Yeoh Oon Tean, Chief Executive Officer of the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM), raised the issue of skills that small and medium-sized enterprises need to run a business. He also pointed out that upskilling is just one factor in the whole ecosystem.

The discussion also covered the current state of green construction and green jobs as well as approaches the study adopted for reaching out to ¬– and finding out more about – demand and the voices of owners of SMEs and workers.

Mohd Farhan Mohammad Din, MBAM Manager, said the directive of the construction industry is to incorporate government directions on green technology into its strategy.

Datuk Hj Shamsuddin Bardan, Executive Director of Malaysia Employers Federation, emphasized the need to increase productivity in the two sectors through the adoption of new technology and skills development for employees. He also said the Malaysian government’s plan to roll out 5G deployments in the country by the end of this year will provide businesses with better internet connectivity.

“We should be able to adopt more forward-looking technology,” he said.

Other participants at the workshop included Zaki Bin Zakaria, Under Secretary of the Ministry of Human Resources’ (MOHR) International Division; Ts Zaihan Bin Shukri, Director-General of MOHR’s Department of Skills Development; Shamsuri bin Abdullah, Director of TVET Coordination of the Ministry of Higher Education’s Department of Polytechnic and Community Education; and Mohd Effendy Bin Abdul Ghani, Deputy President of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress.

The report includes data gathered from a myriad of resources, consisting of qualitative data obtained through in-depth interviews with stakeholders, including government agencies and industry players, and rigorous secondary research, such as national policies on industrial and human capital development, occupational frameworks and labour market and industrial statistics.

The study will support the programme’s goal of increasing national capacity for inclusive economic growth through more future-ready and equitable skills along with technical and vocational education and training (TVET) systems. The final findings of this study will also help fine-tune the implementation of several upcoming programme activities, including a review of existing TVET/skills institutional mechanisms and an improvement of demand-driven TVET modalities through sector-based pilot training activities.