Shah Alam, 20 December 2019 – As part of its mission to boost the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) talent pool for Malaysia’s growing commercial automotive industry, Volvo Malaysia (Volvo) is pleased to announce that it has recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the National Youth Skills Institute or Institut Kemahiran Belia Negara (IKBN), which provides technical and vocational education and training for youths.

IKBN functions under the coordination and supervision of the Youth Skill Development Division, an agency under the Ministry of Youth and Sports Malaysia. The key purpose of the institute is to provide technical training opportunities to Malaysian youths in order to create skilled and semi-skilled workforce for the country.

Through this MoU, IKBN and Volvo will now join hands to implement various collaborative programmes to ensure further development of the automotive studies curriculum and to generate skilled automotive technicians, in line with the latest technological advancements in the automotive industry.

Mitch Peden, Managing Director, Volvo Malaysia said, “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.”

One of the collaborative initiatives is an internship programme. On this, Volvo will be taking in, starting next year, a group of automotive students from selected IKBN centers. The students will perform internship for a period of three months at selected Volvo dealerships and be directly exposed to the actual workshop environment.

They will be trained as automotive technicians and 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 monthly allowance as part of their internship with Volvo Malaysia.

‘Train the Trainer’ is another important collaboration under this MoU. This is where Volvo will provide technical advice to enhance IKBN’s current automotive curriculum. This programme will entail Volvo’s in-house technical trainers conducting a review of IKBN’s automotive coursework, train and share knowledge with selected IKBN lecturers at the frequency of 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 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,” said Peden.

In addition to the internship and ‘Train the Trainer’ programmes, Volvo will also participate in annual career fairs by IKBN, host study tours for a large group of IKBN students from automotive studies and conduct career and motivational talks for them.

Volvo 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 why Volvo had donated a refurbished Volvo FM half-cut cabin to IKTBN Dusun Tua in 2017, which was 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.