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    Updated on Monday, April 1, 2002 10:10 PM

Training schemes for laid-off workers and jobless grads

Utusan Express, 18 Oktober 2001

PUTRAJAYA Oct 17 - The government has allocated RM300 million for two human resources development (HRD) programmes to help 30,000 jobless graduates and the 10,000 workers who have so far been retrenched in the midst of shaky and uncertain global economy.

The two programmes form part of economy stimulating package and are known as the special training scheme for skills upgrading (STSSU) and the training and attachment programme for jobless graduates (TAPJG).

In a media briefing to announce the two HRD programmes, the deputy director general of the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) in the Prime Minister's Department, Datuk Halipah Esa said: "These programmes are being organised with different objectives. It is up to the graduates (unemployed) and the workers (retrenched) to participate in them."

"We (EPU) in cooperation with relevant agencies have initiated various programmes to provide opportunities for reducing the burden of those affected, while using the slowdown period to raise future capacity (in terms of the availability of skilled personnel)," she said.

In the April-September months, an average of 4,000 workers were retrenched every month, while the number of jobless graduates registered up to the second quarter of 2001 was 44,000.

Outlining the objectives of the HRD programmes, Halipah said serve to ease the financial burden of the participants.

In addition, individual participants acquire the knowledge and experience to raise their "employability" status.

From the viewpoint of employers, the advantage of the programmes lies in their abilty to recruit skilled and productive personnel to sharpen their competitive edge.

"This will enable the company as well as the nation to be better prepared to raise output and exploit new opportunities as soon as the economy recovers," Halipah said.

The STSSU is divided into two streams: training scheme for retrenched and jobless workers, and the graduates' scheme for ICT (information and communications technology) and language training.

For the former STSSU (workers) scheme, participants can undergo training for certificate and diploma qualifications at public and private training institutions approved by the coordinarting agency, Perbadanan Sumber Manusia Bhd (the human resources corporation).

While participating in the scheme, trainees are paid an allowance equivalent to half the gross salary they received when last retrenched, subject to a minimum of RM200 and a maximum monthly allowance of RM500 each.

For the certificate course, the minimum attendance time is 120 hours while the diploma course sets the minimum attendance time at 600 hours.

In the case of the ICT and language course, graduate trainees are paid an allowance of RM500 a month or RM20 per day for the duration of the course. The corresponding allowance for diploma holders take the course is RM400 per month.

The ICT and Language course is divided into two categories: one for those with a strong background in ICT fundamentals, and the other or those without such a background.

The duration of the ICT course is four months, excluding two months under training-within-industry placement.

For the language scheme, trainees are encouraged to improve their command of English, Arabic, Mandarin or any other language in high demand by commercial organisations.

The duration of the language training course is six months.

The TAPJG (graduates) programme offers training under seven schemes, namely the advanced studies scheme, the attachment and training scheme, the teaching assistant's attachment scheme, the attachment studies scheme, the agricultural entrepreneurs commercial scheme, the private-sector attachment and training scheme and the attachment scheme for raising the capabilities of small-scale and medium-scale industries (SMI) in ICT operations.

The first of these seven "graduate" schemes (the advanced studies scheme) encourages the participating graduate to follow advanced-degree courses with the help of loans offered by the national higher studies research fund corporation (Perbadanan Tabung Pendidikan Tinggi Nasional alias PTPTN).

This research loan scheme involves the payment of study fees and cost of living allowances.

The duration of the study scholarship cannot exceed two years.

For the attachment and training scheme, the graduate trainee wil be placed with a federal government department or agency as an attachment employee for six months.

The trainee is paid an allowance of RM500 a month (RM400 in the case of diploma holders).

The teaching assistants' attachment scheme places the participating graduate on attachment with the Public Institute of Higher Studies (IPTA) in order to further his or her studies to qualify for a master's degree.

For the studies attachment scheme, the graduate is attached to a government department or agency for a maximum period of six months. Allowance is paid at the rate of RM20 a month for the duration of the attachment.

For the agricultural entrepreneurs commercial graduate scheme, the participant is attached and trained in the context of a successful commercial agriculture project funded by the national agricultural bank, Bank Pertanian Malaysia.

The graduate must pass an aptitude test and will an allowance of RM20 a month forthe duration of the attachment.

The public and private sector attachment and training scheme places the participating graduate with private-sector firms especially those specialising in consultancy work in such fields as engineering, accountancy and surveying, for a period of six months.

Allowance is paid at the rate of RM500 a month for the duration of the attachment.

For the attachment scheme designed to raise the expertise of SMI entities in ICT operations, the graduate is attached to a benefiary SMI for three months, receiving a monthly allowance of RM500 in recompense.

Halipah said each of the schemes would be put into practicipation in the near future.

She added that each programme would extend over a period of one to two years.

The work of processing applications for the schemes and courses would take one month.

She added that there was no assurance that every attached personnel would find full employment with the relevant sponsor at the end of the relevant training or attachment period.

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