A COUNTRY can develop its human capital (undeniably one of its most valuable assets) by harnessing the talent and potential of the young generation.
Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) with its orientation towards the world of work and the acquisition of employable skills means that it is in the best position to serve as one of the solutions to reducing youth unemployment in Brunei.
Through the comprehensive training programmes, the students’ hands-on ta-lents are further developed, making TVET graduates even more employable as they are readily equipped with the skills and competencies that are demanded by the industry.
In July last year, the Energy Industry Competency Framework (EICF) was also launched; a joint collaboration between the Energy Department at the Prime Mi-nister’s Office (EDPMO) and the Institute of Brunei Technical Education (IBTE), Ministry of Education, which aims to help create a local workforce equipped with the relevant skills to make them more marketable to the oil and gas industry.
Under the EICF initiative, four HNTec programmes and four Industrial Skill Qualifications (ISQ) programmes were introduced with the first cohort of ISQ stu-dents completing their studies in October 2014.
The HNTec students who are in their final year have also been offered Conditio-nal Offers of Employment (COE) while the ISQ graduates are already employed.
We recently interviewed three ISQ gra-duates who are employed as well as two companies who have ISQ graduates as part of their team.
Md Safwan bin Hj Rajiddin (ISQ in Marker/Fitter), now employed by PB Ser-vices Sdn Bhd and working at SAHID, said that his four-month work attachment with HMM had opened his eyes and that the course is well-structured towards equip-ping him with the skills that he needs in his line of work. “Pay attention and stay focus, especially during the practical ses-sions. Initially, the programme took a while to get used to; it was difficult but it is definitely rewarding,” he shared.
Muhammad Azril bin Muhammad Ali (ISQ in Scaffolder), now employed by Syarikat Hj Idris Kalong dan Anak-anak (SHIKA), said, “The training given by PLM (Mechanical Training Centre) was good and I did not expect to get a job immedia-tely upon graduating. The programme is tough but with hard work and dedication, success will follow.”
He is also currently undergoing the T-BOSIET (Basic Offshore Safety Induction and Emergency Training), which is OPITO- accredited and will allow him to work off-shore.
Budyman bin Hj Bujang (ISQ in Rigger), now employed by PB Services Sdn Bhd and working at SAHID, said, “I did not have any knowledge at all of what rigging is about when I enrolled in this programme, but then I discovered it was a fun course. The job is dangerous but the programme pre-pares me well, especially the attachment with Megamas.”
Meanwhile, a PTAS Sdn Bhd represen-tative said,“We are confident that our new ISQ team has been equipped with the basic skills and knowledge and now have a strong foundation. Their next journey is to utilise the skills taught to them, obtain more exposure and experience which will improve their knowledge and further enhance their competency, generating a solid workforce within our company.
“Technical education offers opportu-nities and in due course creates a self-sustainable nation with a local workforce; a combination of technical education and adequate work experience in a chosen discipline could lead to a Technical Ma-nagement position one day – nothing is impossible!”
SHIKA added, “The ISQ courses offered at PLM have proven that the graduates are trained with the basic skills and knowledge of the trade. However, before we send them off to the platform or vessel, we need to ensure that they also have the proper safety training, as safety is our main concern.
“We believe that a proper safety culture instilled early in them, which includes their discipline and behaviour, would be bene-ficial. Opportunities to advance up the ca-reer ladder are not impossible as long as there is a keenness to learn and develop one’s skills and competency.”
What follows are some of the students’ and instructors’ thoughts on the EICF-HNTec programmes.
“Technical students (in the workplace) have a lot more experience and skills com-pared to those who are in the Sixth Form centres. I am more motivated to learn and to train, but the pressure can be daunting. Whatever it is, I will always try my very best,” said Nike Lyana binti Ali @ Lee Fui Siew (HNTec in Electrical Engineering, SVNR), who has been offered a COE by Menara EE Sdn Bhd.
Muhd Zulfaqar bin Arman (HNTec in Electrical Engineering, SVNR) who has also been offered a COE by Brunei Shell Petro-leum (BSP), commented, “Nowadays, there is too much competition with others who have higher qualifications in getting jobs.
“However, for the EICF programme it is different, where jobs are actually being offered to the young generation prior to graduating the programme, just like me. That offer has encouraged me to learn more skills from our instructors and to learn as much as I can during the industrial-based training.”
“In the HNTec programme, we learn all about the industry and get to conduct our practical work onsite… Getting the COE motivated me to gain more training, expe-riences, knowledge, skills and strength,” said Muhammad Akmal Muntaqim bin Bakeri (HNTec in Mechanical Engineering, SVSB), who has been offered a COE by KCA DEUTAG.
“We have the chance to do our practical work by using the exact tools that are being used in the oil and gas industry, such as the torque wrench, dial gauge, micrometer and so forth,” added Muhd Azizan bin Suadi (HNTec in Mechanical Engineering, SVSB), who has been offered a COE by Brunei Li-quefied Natural Gas (BLNG).
“It (getting the COE) is a source of moti-vation to me as to why I have to do well not only in my studies but also practical-wise.”
Meanwhile, Wendy Sharonlyna Anak Willy (HNTec in Mechanical Engineering), who has also been offered a COE By BLNG, remarked, “What I enjoy most about this programme is that it taught us about the importance of HSSE, and we also had the chance to do practical work at the BSP Training Hub, BAPSLH. The COE motivates me to do well in my studies and get very good results… I always say this to myself ‘Do well to achieve your goal.’”
“What we need is to show that there is positive light in technical education, as it does not just offer theory but also skills training in which our locals can learn, thus providing skilled workforce for companies looking for locals with very good practical skills,” said Muhammad Azraie bin Hj Amit, an Education Officer at Sultan Bolkiah Vo-cational School (SVSB) teaching subjects in HNTec Mechanical Engineering. “We cannot rely on foreign workers as it will be hard for locals to find a job in oil and gas companies.”
“The programme has given us the op-portunities to visit sites, allowing us to see the real working environment as well as exposing us to a lot of hands-on projects. This helps us to gain more knowledge of the industry,” said Salwa binti Hj Salleh (HNTec in Plant Engineering), who has been offered a COE by BSP.
“After receiving the COE letter, I cannot stop being grateful because I know I deserve this. This has become my moti-vation to keep on studying hard, to learn and practise more.
“However, this has also become a part of the challenges that I have to go through in order to prove to my family and the industry that it is not a loss to choose me to become a part of this industry.”
“Technical education helps a lot in pro-moting economic development in Brunei. Just to name a few, the Business School can help youths with starting out with their businesses, SVNR (Nakhoda Ragam Vocational School) can help harness po-tential interior designers, PLM prepares budding mechanics and open up their own workshop,” noted Dyg Nuramalina binti Abang Hj Kifrawi, an Education Officer at the Jefri Bolkiah Engineering College (MKJB) teaching subjects in HNTec in
“Furthermore, the beauty of it all is that we are mostly Bruneians. This will help the nation invest in local talents.”
“Everything is fun in the ICE programme, lots of hands-on work. The mindset is still that with a higher qualification it is easier to get a job. But nowadays, skills are equally important and can secure employment,” said Abdul Mateen bin Abdullah (HNTec in Instrumentation & Control Engineering, MKJB), who has been offered a COE by Shlumberger.
“Technical education helps our students, especially the locals, to develop their skills as much as possible to become the driver of our nation’s industries,” said Rosminah binti Hj Md Jaafar, an instructor at MKJB teaching Distributed Control System in HNTec in Instrumentation & Control Engi-neering.
“TVET plays an important role in pre-paring and equipping them with the skills and knowledge required by the industry, especially now with the strong collabo-ration between technical education and industries. This relationship helps provide our young generation with the skills and knowledge for them to become valuable assets for Brunei.” – COURTESY OF IBTE