Sunday, May 22

Batik entrepreneurs in the making

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PROVIDING youths with entrepreneurship opportunities is one of College Yayasan Sabah’s (KYS) mission as an educational institution.

Dr Dayang Aminah Ali

Its chief executive Dr Dayang Aminah Ali said one of the approaches was through batik.

In the college, trainees get hands-on training in batik processing, starting from ideas and concepts to selection of fabrics, patterns and design sketches, tjanting and dyeing batik process.

One of the important aspects of the programme is to create quality products with the potential to acquire international recognition and branding.

“This is to ensure consistency and quality of handicraft production that can meet local and international demand,” Dayang said.

In addition to hands-on training, the trainees are given exposure and guidance on various aspects of batik production, how to obtain batik materials as well as marketing concept and entrepreneurship.

“KYS provide skills in theoritical and practical entrepreneurship to enable trainees to become independent when starting their own business,” she added.

Realising that entrepreneurship could be competitive, she said KYS had engaged a well-known local fashion designer, Salikin Sidek, to share his experience in the fashion business.

Salikin will go to campus in Kota Kinabalu every month to help the trainees acquire more batik knowledge and expose them to the fashion industry.

HANDS-ON TRAINING: A trainer applying finishing touches to a batik painting.

The KYS batuk programme offers five types of skills — batik chemical (process Indonesia); batik nature (nature and use of the staining process); batik painting; batik Malaysia (canting and batik print/ cop) and block manufacturing batik/cop.

A total of 175 trainees have now enrolled in the batik programme where batik skills could be imparted to trainees between six and 12 months.

The programme seeks to empower the local handicraft industry and further enhance the socio-economic development of the community.

It also aims to train the youth in the craft and tap the potential of the industry by upgrading the quality of production to penetrate the international market.

Most of trainers are from Indonesia with the rest from Terengganu and Sabah.

“We are all aware Indonesian batik has its own aesthetic values. So, I invite trainers from Indonesia to share their expertise in the manufacturing of batik. When the trainees are given greater exposure, they will get more ideas on producing batik designs with their own identity,” Dayang said, adding that the College encouraged pupils to make their own designs or patterns highlighting local elements.

MALAYSIAN BATIK: The batik fashion show at Perda-Tech Institute in Prai, Penang.

The batik programme was designed by Dayang after making a study on the suitability and potential of batik products in the state.

After learning from batik and handicraft operators in peninsular Malaysia and Indonesia, KYS started its handicrafts skills programme in October 2011 with a total of 250 trainees.

The handicrafts skills programme started with handicraft training funds channelled through Yayasan Sabah Group.

The fund is an initiative under the Special Programme for Sabah Bumiputera Minorities (Government Transformation Programme) by the Implementation Coordination Unit (ICU) under the Prime Minister’s Department.

Meanwhile, local trainer Ira Idayu said he was happy that through the programme, he got to showcase the batik designs, created by him and his colleagues, during the fashion show at Perda-Tech Institute in Prai, Penang.

The 24-year-old from the Kinabatangan district has completed the basic training and been appointed by KYS as an apprentice.

In that role, he trains new students for the Master Craftsman certificate over a period of six months. After qualifying, trainees can use work in the industry

The programme is now being carried out at Campus Batik Handicrafts Likas KYS. The works of traineers are showcased at the Likas Campus Gallery and Gallery KYS, as well as at the Sabah Handicraft Centre in Keningau.