The NTUC Women’s Committee sent a delegation to Penang from 7 to 9 September 2017 to learn how its Malaysian counterparts approach issues such as workforce transformation, women advancement and progressive workplaces. Committee Chairperson K Thanaletchimi led the 39-member delegation.
The committee visited the Penang Skills Development Centre (PSDC), an industry-led skills training and education centre; the Penang Women’s Development Corporation(PWDC), a non-profit organisation that works to strengthen social justice and gender equality in Penang; and Paramit Malaysia, a factory designed for productivity and efficient manpower deployment.
At the visit to PSDC, the delegation found that industries, academia and the government worked closely together to meet the training needs of various sectors.
The centre also offers its graduates a 6-month place-and-train programme, which includes on-the-job and classroom training.
One key takeaway was that a centralised training institute that integrates skills training, career guidance and placement could help achieve the most significant results using the least resources.
“The PSDC is self-funded and self-driven by industry partners and located within the industry hub. This enables better accessibility and learning flexibility for workers. Training is also customised to the needs of the industries. This is the perfect recipe to get industry buyin for training,” said Ms Thanaletchimi.
NTUC Women’s Committee member Halimah Marjubee said: “In the face of economic challenges, restructuring and redefining will become constant. [We need to] be aware of what we have, upgrade our skills and stay relevant for the future.
WOMEN AT WORK
From their discussions with PWDC, the delegation learnt that Penang's local government puts in place a gender quota for key community committees such as the Village Development and Security Committee. Doing so allows the nurturing of women community leaders to take on crucial decision-making positions in local governments.
The delegation also learnt that companies in Penang enjoy double tax exemption for bringing women back to work.
A progressive company, Paramit Malaysia implements family-friendly workplace practices, including flexible work arrangements for all employees.
The medical equipment manufacturer also uses smart technology to monitor its business performance and maximise the energy efficiency of the building. Technology has also helped to raise productivity and enable efficient deployment of manpower.
Calling Paramit Malaysia an innovative factory, Ms Thanaletchimi said it is an excellent example of what could happen when “top-notch technology” is paired with a “hungry workforce keen on learning”.
NTUC This Week 29 October 2017. Article by Fawwaz Baktee