Lack of local trainers delays East Malaysians in taking up job opportunities

Lau (left) presenting a souvenir to Talib at the opening ceremony.

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KUCHING, Oct 15: A shortage of local trainers to run training programmes is among the factors stalling Sarawakians and Sabahans from taking up opportunities in the workforce, with a majority of the unemployed falling in the lower income group (B40).

Highlighting this, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) chairwoman Alice Lau revealed that as of 2019, the total percentage of trainers available in Sabah was 10 per cent and in Sarawak 14 per cent.

“I understand that training programmes in both these states are very expensive. This is mainly because the trainers will have to be flown all the way from the peninsula to train the workers here and thus, the high cost incurred in logistics,” she explained.

One of the ways to reduce the cost, she emphasised, was by creating a bigger pool of trainers in Sabah and Sarawak.

“I intend to increase this to 30 per cent for both states in 2020. With that, I believe the additional cost of logistics can be reduced and be translated into the existing training here,” she told attendees at the 6th Borneo Conference and Exhibition on Occupational Safety and Health (BOSH) 2019 today.

Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department (Intergrity and Ombudsman) Datuk Talib Zulpilip officiated at the opening of this year’s BOSH which was themed ‘Industrial Transformation: OSH Engagement for Future Skills and Works’.

Lau, who took over the NIOSH chairperson’s post from Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, emphasised that her vision was to bring more competent people into the workforce.

“We need to close the skills gap among the people. We have to be able to develop competent talents to fill in the demands of the workforce and to adapt to the ever-changing economic realities. It is our responsibility to develop high skilled talents.

“Therefore, I want some focus to train more people and to get them prepared for employment,” she added.

With better skills, Lau believed that the people of Sabah and Sarawak too will have the opportunity to secure better job opportunities at higher salaries compared to what they are earning now.

Additionally, she also aims to put more efforts into empowering women so they can be part of the workforce especially in the field of occupational, safety and health (OSH) which women are currently less likely to venture into.

“I know that this is a male dominant field but it is also a unique one with so many opportunities waiting to be explored. And, we all know that safety and health goes beyond gender,” she pointed out.

Lau shared that as of 2019, the number of female participants in NIOSH training programmes were 10,577 which was about 8.9 per cent of the overall number of participants.

“I would like to champion this to 15 per cent in the year 2020, and I will also work with NIOSH to be the ambassador to attract more women into this field,” she said.

“Women empowerment is also one of the aspirations of the government. It is therefore, our responsibility to join hands together with the government to produce more capable women in the workforce,” she added. — DayakDaily