Locals urged to take up over 2,000 available jobs

Lyna Mohamad

Proactive and innovative intervention is crucial in increasing local employment and supporting businesses, and one of the initiatives of the Manpower Planning and Employment Council (MPEC) is the job matching process by JobCentre Brunei (JCB).

“Since the COVID-19 outbreak, there have been over 40,000 job matching occurrences and over 6,000 interview sessions conducted,” said Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah.

The minister who is also the Chairman of MPEC officiated the launching ceremony of the ARMECS Bridging Programme yesterday.

“Since January this year, over 2,400 jobs have been filled by locals via JCB and…there are still over 2,000 job positions to be filled.

“I hope jobseekers will seriously look into these opportunities and for employers to also offer more opportunities for locals,” he said.

“The Manpower Industry Steering Committee (MISC), a sub-committee under the MPEC, seeks to foster collaboration between industry players, regulators and training institutions – and the ARMECS Bridging Programme is an exemplary outcome of this.

“Towards producing an industry-ready workforce, MPEC is not alone, as other ministries and other key agencies have placed employment and local capacity building the centre of their work plans and priorities, as what we are witnessing today with the Ministry of Development.

Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah launches the ARMECS Bridging Programme. PHOTO: BAHYIAH BAKIR

With close collaboration across ministries and other agencies, there are still opportunities to be found in the country’s economy, even in the midst of the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

One of the immediate priorities during this period is the continuous creation of employment opportunities.

“With the current restrictions of labour mobility across economies, it is now more pressing for us to ready our locals and to get them into the jobs available in the market.”

He added that the MPEC in collaboration with several ministries – including the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism, the Ministry of Development, the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications, the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Education, in their capacities as regulators – is currently identifying job positions for locals.

“In the case of the construction sector, it offers a vast number of identified positions particularly at the professional, associate professional and technician levels, where we can start building a talent pipeline of skilled Bruneians.

“It is a sector that contributed BND457 million to the GDP last year, and it is anticipated to continue to be a key sector in the journey to develop the nation’s economy to meet Brunei Vision 2035.

“In tandem to identifying jobs to be localised, the MPEC is also working closely with several training and education providers under the purview of the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports to prepare our locals to meet the needs of our industries.

“There is also stronger focus on in-role development or on-the-job training with exposure to the real work environment, where 70 per cent of learnings can actually be acquired.

Programmes such as the ARMECS are an added value for locals, where they are given the opportunity to work with professionals and can help to grow and diversify their talents.

“This is an example of one of the upskilling and reskilling programmes that has been rolled out, following our recent adoption of the Upskilling and Reskilling Framework designed to support those seeking new skills, and those who wish to develop other competencies, the desired outcome of this framework is, firstly, to increase the involvement of employers in the development of quality training and learning programmes.

“Second, the implementation of programmes that are accredited and recognised not only academically, but also in terms of skills via the Brunei Darussalam National Occupation Skills Standards (BNOSS); and third, the creation of an ecosystem that enables a wide range of learning opportunities via the expansion of training providers to boost the supply of local talents.

“The hospitality and tourism sector has also benefitted from this, where the MPEC have rolled out similar upskilling and reskilling programmes with the objective of providing locals with experiential learning and industrial exposure.”

The minister also highlighted that several key stakeholders are also continuously working together, leading to the introduction of new training programmes, as well as an increase in new training providers.

“Based on this framework, a new programme has just been recently rolled out in August, such as iSkills Welding, and an additional six new programmes such as iSkills Scaffolding, iSkills Riggers and others, will be opened for enrolments in quarter one next year. Insya Allah, many more will be followed later in the year,” he said.

Congratulating the 33 graduates who secured places in the first batch of the iReady-ARMECS Bridging Programme, the minister also conveyed appreciation to the 41 participating companies for their continuous support in building local talents.

“I encourage you to press on and continuously look out for further opportunities such as these, to help equip locals with the necessary skills. For the companies that have yet to join us, the MPEC highly encourages and welcomes your participation,” he said.

“I hope the synergy and collaboration among ministries, agencies and industry players will continue, as the development of our workforce towards assuring their employability is important for our country. Together, let’s build a strong and agile workforce that will contribute to a vibrant and sustainable economy.”