KUCHING: Over the years, the awareness of global environmental problems has risen significantly, with issues ranging from climate change and pollution to depletion of natural resources known to have been adversely affecting human health and bringing about dire consequences if left unchecked.
These have given rise to the emergence of environmental protection legislation related to the control of hazardous substances, green technologies, green materials and waste treatment technologies.
Likewise, today’s work environment has changed drastically following the heightened awareness that people have towards the multitude of concerns relating to employees’ safety at work.
Such concerns include the risks as well as possibilities of being exposed to hazardous substances, heavy machinery and occupational diseases.
Since the passing of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994, Malaysia has been increasingly attentive to safety at work.
This has also resulted in a majority of employers looking into safety procedures and measures meant to protect employees from potential workplace hazards.
As a university committed to providing strong undergraduate programmes, which encourage the intellectual and personal development of students, as well as respond to professional and community needs, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) through its Faculty of Engineering and Green Technology (FEGT) is unveiling a new multidisciplinary programme integrating both ‘environmental health’ and ‘occupational safety and health’.
“We believe that safety measures can be taken to prevent risks and untoward disasters at the workplace,” said FEGT head of department of environmental engineering, Assoc Prof Dr Mohammed JK Bashir.
In this respect, he viewed the environmental and occupational safety and health (EOSH) professionals as the frontliners who ensure that workers are shielded from potential harm, injuries and illnesses, and that the working environment is safe.
“UTAR’s Bachelor of Science (Hons) Environmental, Occupational Safety and Health programme is designed to respond to the impact of local occupation and safety and health issues as well as environmental legislation on the working environment of institutions and industries.
“Our graduates will be capable to recognise, develop and apply good EOSH practices and technologies based on sound scientific principles and legislative requirements,” said Bashir.
In line with UTAR’s vision of becoming a university of educational excellence with transformative societal impact, the four-year undergraduate programme provides a coherent body of professional knowledge, technical skills and soft skills with the aim to produce competent as well as versatile professionals who can adapt to the diverse roles and responsibilities in a challenging and dynamic work environment.
Besides learning from seasoned academics with extensive industry background and real-life experiences in conducting practical and simulation classes, the students are groomed further by undergoing an intensive industrial training either within clinical setups, government agencies or private sectors.
The compulsory industrial training is a platform for students to apply their knowledge and skills into a different work environment and also to prepare them for the future challenges at work.
An added bonus to UTAR’s programme is its holistic education approach, whereby soft skills-based courses are also integrated into the curriculum in order to improve the students in the areas of communications, complex problem-solving, cultural intelligence, leadership, moral ethics, entrepreneurship skills, and digital literacy.
These soft skills are in parallel with the Top 10 skills pinpointed by the World Economic Forum’s ‘Future of Jobs Report’, and are essential for survival in the giant wave of the oncoming Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The programme’s extensive areas of studies also enable graduates to gain employment in both government and private sectors, particularly in the areas of oil and gas, healthcare, manufacturing and construction.
Some of these prospects include becoming an occupational safety and health officer, environmental, safety health (ESH) engineer and practitioner, ergonomist, fire protection and suppression system engineer, industrial hygienist, process safety engineer, risk assessor, ESH legal compliance advisor, and emergency response commander.
Other undergraduate programmes available under UTAR FEGT include Electronic Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Petrochemical Engineering, and Construction Management. Postgraduate programmes such as Master of Engineering Science, Master of Engineering (Electronic Systems), Master of Environmental Technology, and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Engineering, are also available.
UTAR is known as one of the fastest-growing private institutions of higher education in the country since its inception in 2002.
From only 411 students, the university now has about 25,000 students with campuses located in Kampar, Perak and Bandar Sungai Long, Selangor.
It has graduated over 52,000 students since its inaugural convocation in 2005.
The university currently provides more than 110 programmes from Foundation Studies to Bachelor’s, Master degrees and PhDs in the fields of Accounting, Business and Economics, Actuarial Science, Mathematics and Process Management, Agriculture and Food Science, Arts, Social Sciences and Education, Chinese Studies, Creative Industries and Design, Engineering and Built Environment, Information and Communications Technology, Life and Physical Sciences, and Medicine and Health Sciences.
UTAR was awarded self-accreditation status by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency of the Ministry of Higher Education last year and ranked 501-600 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2018.
It was also ranked 99 in 2018 Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings.
For more information, go to www.utar.edu.my or call 05-468 8888 (Kampar Campus) / 03-9086 0288 (Sungai Long Campus).