TVet’s bright future in Sarawak

(From left) John Peterson, Datuk Dr Pang Chau Leong and Datuk Dr R Palan.

(From left) John Peterson, Datuk Dr Pang Chau Leong and Datuk Dr R Palan.

TECHNICAL Vocational Education and Training (TVet) is already acknowledged as a major driver of jobs growth in Sarawak into the future. Long viewed less favourably than other academic paths, the perception of TVet is quickly changing.

The World TVet Conference 2015 held in Kuching last week provided Sarawakians with a glimpse of the excitement around the outlook for TVet – not just in Sarawak, but around the world.

The atmosphere at the conference was incredibly positive, with attendees including experts in TVet from various parts of the globe. People who are incredibly passionate about TVet. People who understand and recognise the opportunities TVet can provide for young people in Sarawak. People who realise TVet is the future.

“TVet is very important today because most of the new jobs that are going to be created in the future will require not just academic qualifications, but increasingly TVet qualifications,” Department of Skills Development director-general Datuk Dr Pang Chau Leong, from the Ministry of Human Resources, told SarawakYES! at the conference.

“And that is where the opportunities are, that is where the high-paying jobs are.”

Traditionally, TVet qualifications have opened up career opportunities in areas such as automotive, engineering, and manufacturing. However, the career fields are expanding fast and TVet now provides a path to jobs in banking and finance and even in the biotechnology and aerospace industries.

TVet can no longer be considered a second-choice education, and can no longer be looked down upon by parents who have long dreamed of their children attending university to become a doctor or a lawyer.

John Peterson, managing director of the Best Practice Group of Companies in Australia, was among those attending the conference and spoke positively about how young people can take their existing talents to develop themselves into something valuable.

“It’s quite incredible how your career can become something quite amazing if you just start with one skill. One skill can become so much more,” he said.

“It does not matter if you start as a carpenter, or a tiler, or a plasterer, or a painter, anything. If you become a specialist you become very valuable, and the more you specialise the more valuable you become. You don’t have to actually be a brain surgeon to end up earning lots and lots of money. A normal trade can pay you very, very, well, and you can be held in very high regard with great respect and great esteem.”

One of the exciting issues discussed last week was the idea that if you have an entrepreneurial spirit, the skills you learn in TVet can open up some real business opportunities. Being an entrepreneur not only allows people to build a better life for themselves, but also allows them to be their own boss.

“I think it’s important to get people to think entrepreneurship, not think employment, because I think no government in this world can continue to create jobs for its population,” said SMR Group chairman and CEO Datuk Dr R Palan.

“I think SCORE (Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy) today opens up so many opportunities, and I think if you’re a Sarawakian you just need to acquire the skills, the skills to do something which is productive and valuable for the end product. And if you can actually mix that with entrepreneurship, you are set for whatever you want to do in life.”

* This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.