KUCHING: The Human Resources Ministry has managed to get 23,730 employees nationwide re-skilled and up-skilled under the 1Malaysia Globally Recognised Industry and Professional Certification Programme (1MalaysiaGRIP) from June 2015 to Dec 31 last year despite initial challenges from numerous parties.
Its minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot, in revealing this yesterday, said those who were given the chance to up-skill and re-skill themselves included over 1,000 employees from Sarawak.
He said the 1MalaysiaGRIP programme, implemented by the Human Resource Development Fund (HRDF) under the Pool Fund concept, played a pivotal role to realise the national agenda of reaching 35 per cent skilled workforce by 2020.
“As far as Sarawak is concerned, the up-skilling and re-skilling of more than 1,000 people (from June 2015 to Dec 2016) cost the ministry RM9 million,” he said when officiating at the Sarawak-level 1MalaysiaGRIP convocation ceremony here yesterday.
He said the challenges faced by the 1MalaysiaGRIP included complaints made by HRDF-registered companies that this training programme was also given to employees of companies which did not pay levy to the HRDF.
He said the programme featured more than 1,000 certification courses to provide workers with means to upgrade their skills and employability. Those in Sarawak were undergoing training with 15 training providers.
“I hope no more complaints is received from employees of companies not paying levy to HRDF that they can go for the courses (under this programme). The government has allocated RM150 million (in matching grant for this purpose), and the funds have been well utilised.”
It was reported in the media last year that Sarawak Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) and Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) strongly objected the move by HRDF to convert underutilised fund under the 1MalaysiaGRIP to a consolidated fund, especially without the consultation and consent of employers in Sarawak contributing to HRDF.
Riot also mentioned that the training of employees from both HRDF-registered and non-registered companies under 1MalaysiaGRIP was meant to provide equal opportunities to employees to up-skill and re-skill themselves.
He added that the Human Resources Ministry through its Skills Development Department had set up 32 Industrial Training Institutes (ILPs) nationwide to train school leavers, and implemented many programmes under other agencies for current workers not just to be up-skilled and re-skilled but also to be multi-skilled.
On a related matter, he said Malaysia was on track to achieve developed and high-income status in 2020 by attaining a 35 per cent skilled local workforce. At the moment, skilled workforce comprised 28 per cent of the country’s total manpower.
He said the presence of ‘esprit de corps’ in the ministry as the reason for the success in implementing programmes to increase the nation’s skilled workforce.
“If you look at Finland, everyone or 100 per cent of them are skilled workforce. In Germany, it is about 80 per cent. That is why these countries still remain developed nations with high income economy. And that is what our government wants us to achieve,” he said.
HRDF chief executive Datuk CM Vignaesvaran Jeyandran also spoke about the challenges faced in implementing 1MalaysiaGRIP programme and how HRDF persevered and addressed these challenges.
He said he and his team would continue to educate HRDF-registered and non-registered employers on the concept of the Pool Fund and why it was essential to continue implementing it.
“With effect from April 1, 2015, HRDF has channelled 30 per cent from the underutilised portion of the monthly HRD levy collected from our registered employers into a common pool for the implementation of the 1MalaysiaGRIP, which was the first programme under the Pool Fund concept. It is a programme provisioned by the government to HRDF to help employers in Malaysia – both HRDF and non-HRDF registered – to up-skill their local workforce.
“If HRDF does not take an active stand to assist the government in upgrading the skills sets of Malaysian employees, not only will our businesses continue to suffer; we will also fail to achieve our national agenda of achieving a high income nation status through a 35 per cent skilled local employees,” he said.
A total 300 employees who have completed their training received their certificates yesterday. Also honoured were 20 companies which received their Certificate of Appreciation for their continuous support to HRDF.