Hub to help graduates get jobs

LETTERS: The Covid-19 pandemic has affected economic activities, including the unemployment rate.

The Department of Statistics Malaysia revealed that the unemployment rate dropped to 4.8 per cent in the fourth quarter after recording the highest quarterly rate of 5.1 per cent in the second quarter of last year.

Between 2015 and 2019, an estimated 300,000 graduates from local higher learning institutions (HLIs) entered the job market every year.

Out of that number, 58 per cent were employed, 16 per cent chose to further their studies, two per cent participated in skills enhancement programmes while four per cent were waiting for job placements six months after graduation.

The remaining 20 per cent struggled with unemployment. Last year, the Higher Education Ministry estimated that as many as 75,000 new graduates (25 per cent of the total number of annual graduates) required assistance to enhance their opportunities for employment.

This is important, particularly in a highly competitive and complex job market.

Besides academic qualifications, graduates must possess skills to meet the current demands of the job market.

Furthermore, graduates must be equipped with information on career development training, as well as job-searching abilities.

However, it was found that graduates had difficulty accessing this type of information from various platforms.

The ministry came up with initiatives and programmes to address the issue.

To assist them in seeking information pertaining to training and employment, the ministry has developed a one-stop portal known as the Graduates Reference Hub for Employment and Training (GREaT).

The effort to develop this portal was mooted by the idea that there was a need to create a single information hub on career development, as well as opportunities to increase employability among graduates.

One-stop portals such as GREaT will reduce the time for them to obtain information pertaining to employability from service providers.

This includes information on job offers, opportunities to pursue education, sponsorships, entrepreneurship programmes, as well as skills training.

For example, through this portal, graduates can retrieve information and apply to participate in the National Economy Recovery Plan (Penjana) KPT-Career Advancement Programme or Penjana KPT-CAP.

This initiative aims to produce graduates who meet the market demands through three main skills enhancement programmes, namely job matching and placement, sustainable entrepreneurship and gig economy.

The GREaT portal, which can be accessed at https:/great.mohe.gov.my, pools ideas, tips and views to enhance graduate employability from experts and academics.

Additionally, this portal welcomes a "bottom-up" approach, where students, undergraduates and graduates can submit suggestions and ideas to the government on ways to increase graduate employability.

This portal is expected to benefit around 300,000 graduates from local HLIs every year. The portal will be expanded to include other programmes such as the KPT-PACE (professional certificate), Penjana KPT-IPTS and Penjana KPT Job@STATE.

The functions of the GREaT Portal will be strengthened through the integration of the Graduate Tracer Study System 1 (SKPG-1), SKPG-2 and SKPG-TVET, which serve as the means to measure the employability status of graduates.

Looking forward, this one-stop digital hub will provide access to the industries to automatically match graduates to available and suitable jobs.

Other than e-profiling, this one-stop hub provides students access to the Industrial Training Matching Systems, which will assist them in applying for industrial training placements.

The education pathways module will also be developed to help HLI students to choose their field of studies based on their interests and qualifications.

The ministry is committed to increasing graduate employability rate. It is hoped that this portal will achieve its objectives, which, in turn, will contribute to the economy.

Datuk Seri Dr Noraini Ahmad

Minister, Higher Education Ministry