Volvo Malaysia Sdn Bhd, otherwise known as Volvo Trucks, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the National Youth Skills Institue a.k.a. Institut Kemahiran Belia Negara (IKBN) to support the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) development for youths. This is part of the company’s mission to boost the talent pool for Malaysia’s growing commercial automotive industry.
With the signing of this MoU, IKBN and Volvo will work together on implementing various collaborative programmes to ensure further development of the automotive studies curriculum to generate skilled automotive technicians who have knowledge of the latest technological advancements in the automotive industry.
IKBN falls under the supervision of the Youth Skill Development Division which is an agency of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Malaysia. The key purpose of the institute is to provide technical training opportunities to Malaysian youths, to create skilled and semi-skilled workforce for the country.
“Volvo looks forward to share its expertise and to support Malaysia’s technical and vocational talent development with the signing of this MoU. Our role in this, as a key industry player, is to encourage the growth of TVET knowledge and skillset by sharing our global standards and best practices with IKBN and its students,” Mitch Peden, Managing Director, Volvo Malaysia said.
One of the collaborative initiatives is an internship programme where Volvo is set to take in a group of automotive students from selected IKBN centers, in 2020. The students will intern for three months at selected Volvo dealerships where they will be directly exposed to the actual workshop environment.
The interns will be trained as automotive technicians and also learn the basics in servicing and repairing of trucks and buses. All the students will be mentored by Volvo’s workshop supervisors and experienced technical teams. They will also be receiving a monthly allowance as part of their internship with Volvo Malaysia.
Another important collaboration under this MoU is ‘Train the Trainer’. This is where Volvo will provide technical advice to enhance IKBN’s current automotive curriculum. This programme will involve Volvo’s in-house technical trainers conducting a review of IKBN’s automotive coursework, training and sharing knowledge with selected IKBN lecturers once every six months for the next 3 years. A total of 10 automotive lecturers from IKBN, all of whom will be selected by the Ministry, will get to participate in this program.
Dato’ Dr. Hajah Wasitah Binti Haji Mohd Yusof, Director General of Youth Skills Development Division, the Ministry of Youth and Sports shared, “At IKBN, we emphasize on building a generation of youths who are skillful, discipline and competent, and who will be able to contribute to the industry and nation. Our courses are designed to produce self-motivated individuals with strong technical knowledge. The support by Volvo Trucks will give our students invaluable experience and new knowledge on par with global standards.
“We believe the ‘Train the Trainer’ programme will be able to bring great benefit to a larger number of students. Not only will this programme help us to increase the overall quality of our coursework, but I am confident it will also help increase the employability of our students after their graduation,” she added.
“Volvo’s role in training the lecturers is not about changing the course module but about enhancing it with the latest industry developments. This is important given that the trucking industry has seen tremendous changes in technological adoption. The sharing of expertise and knowledge will ensure that the students have a continuous learning opportunity, enabling them to stay motivated and relevant,” added Peden.
In addition to the internship and ‘Train the Trainer’ programmes, Volvo will also participate in annual career fairs organised by IKBN, host study tours for groups of IKBN students from automotive studies, and conduct career and motivational talks for them.
Volvo Trucks believes that continuous practical collaborations are very much needed if the industry and country want a constant supply of qualified automotive technicians with the right skills. This was one of the reasons Volvo donated a refurbished Volvo FM half-cut cabin to IKTBN Dusun Tua in 2017, i.e. to give the students actual equipment to practice with.
“As much as classroom education can provide theoretical and domain knowledge, practical equipment experience will undoubtedly strengthen the students’ learning curve and build stronger skills,” said Peden.