Talent Corp tries to meet industry's ravenous appetite

  • Talent Corp: We're not a magic bullet
  • Three strategic thrusts in its overall plan

Talent Corp tries to meet industry's ravenous appetiteTHE Malaysian government has long been working on sharpening our talent pool. For instance, the sum results of various professional development initiatives has seen the number of people taking part in up-skilling and training programs rising to 133,566 in 2010 versus the 39,606 in 2000.
 
The majority of those in these programs were from the engineering profession and the ICT (Information and Communications Technology) sector.
 
But it is nowhere near enough to satiate the hunger of the tech industry for more talent, for a simple fact -- growing one's business actually requires growing headcount. Hence, the very high expectations foisted on the shoulders of Talent Corp and the slim shoulders of its chief executive, Johan Mahmood Merican (pic).
 
We are not the magic bullet answer, Johan will say to anyone who cares to listen. While there are structural reforms going on to address the underlying issues in the nation's talent situation, where Talent Corp comes in is to catalyse talent availability to try and create a "virtuous cycle" where the talent attracts investments, which in turn creates higher value jobs and demands yet greater needs for talent.
 
Nowhere are the needs for talent greater than in the high-tech industry in Penang where Talent Corp introduced its Fast Track program with a grant of RM5.6 million.
 
Under this program, engineers will do their internship at five multinationals — Intel, Altera, Motorola, Silterra, and Agilent Technologies — during a one-year training program in radio frequency, embedded systems, wafer manufacturing and test measurement technologies, this year.
 
During the course of internship, the trainees will also receive RM3,000 monthly, of which half will come from Talent Corporation and the other half from the private sector.
 
As Johan notes, “Industry always wants to move faster so how do you then create a pool of competent private sector R&D engineers?”
 
Fast Track is the short-term answer.
 
Another short-term initiative is to enhance the transition from school to work for Malaysian talent. This falls under the scope of “Optimising Malaysian Talent” which is the first of three strategic thrusts Talent Corp has introduced. The other two are “Attracting and Facilitating Global Talent” and “Building Networks of Top Talent.”
 
“Getting this [optimising talent] right means industry's immediate needs can be taken care of to some extent, and this involves the structured internships we have introduced and an up-skilling program we are working on with the Economic Planning Unit (EPU),” says Johan.
 
Talent Corp is targeting 12,000 internships in 2012 with learning outcomes that offer meaningful advantages to students. This is supplemented with a program with the EPU where they hope to impact 10,000 new graduates by putting them through a program that involves government agencies and industry. While these are not ICT-grad specific programs, a major beneficiary will be the tech-based multinationals, especially those in Penang, Selangor and Malacca.
 
Talent Corp’s objectives have been neatly synthesised into changing the branding of Malaysia from being “Malaysia, Truly Asia,” a nation better known as a holiday destination, to “Malaysia, Truly Global,” a destination for top talent.
 
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