THE famous Hollywood movie, The Karate Kid, ended with the smaller, more innocent boy delivering a powerful blow to the bigger and stronger opponent, who had continously bullied him. –
It was a dramatic ending to a competition where the winner was completely unknown and inexperienced.
For me, the story was more about personal development. All great martial art triumphs began with the first step of developing strong foundations. The teacher teaches the basics of his craft by strengthening the student through simple daily chores such as waxing cars, painting walls and washing windows.
There were good scenes from the movie that conveyed a simple message: while you may know the great moves from emulating the masters on the silk screen, you can only move as quickly and precisely when the basic foundation have been mastered.
Skills can seldom be taught. They can be coached to ensure proper, continuous practice. They are then strengthened through sound theory and knowledge of the art.
In developed countries such as Germany, Italy or the United Kingdom, individuals with skills and craft are revered – particularly those with years of experience, specialising in a particular area.
In the automotive sector, for example, these individuals are highly paid as the services they render are irreplaceable, even by the most precise automation.
If you go to the right places, such as the custom body shops in Ferrari, or the interiors craftsmen of Aston Martin, you’ll see craftsmen who are well respected by their peers, executives and their management for their contribution to the finesse of the brand they work for.
They set high standards in working the vision and mission of the founders and management of the firms they belong to.
The question is, how do we cultivate a skilled workforce with specialised talent, mindset and culture in our own organisations?
Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) has recently emerged a household name among education practitioners and industry players seeking highly skilled individuals to join their talent pool.
There are many forms of TVET based programmes, but all TVET programmes utilise teaching methods – formal or informal – that develops the required knowledge, skills and culture for students to join the workforce upon graduation.
The Malaysia Automotive Robotics and IoT Institute has implemented TVET within its numerous programmes such as IPC (Industry Led Professional Certificate), AICE (Automotive Industry Certification Engineering) and Industry Led Graduate Apprenticeship programme.
While the popularity of TVET based programmes have penetrated the education sector in an encouraging manner, the development of skills must also take place in the form of on job training, either in training centers or better still, within the industry – where the practice of such skills are in the real-time environments of the factory, in order to maximise the learning process.
It is therefore important for the industry to support the placement of skill potentials. The government is ready to support industry players that are willing to participate. In fact, the national car companies have become catalysts for the local workforce to develop their skills and work culture in real time.
Above all, the skills route must be recognised with the same respect and recognition on par with the route of university education.
We must ensure that our skilled workforce are recognised and encouraged to develop specialised skill within their industries.
“The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways”
The writer is the chief executive officer of Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii)