IBM introduces P-TECH in Malaysia to address Digital Skills Shortage

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IBM is bringing the renowned P-TECH education model to Malaysia. The collaboration to better connect high school, university and industry to develop stronger academic, technical and work-ready skills among Malaysian youth, was inked between IBM Malaysia and the Ministry of Education and Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC).

Through the P-TECH model, high schools, tertiary-level universities, and industry partners collaborate to enable students to earn recognized university-level credentials that provide a direct path to competitive, in demand STEM careers in all industries.

Students pursue tech-related Malaysia Vocational and Malaysia Skills diplomas in applied science, engineering, computers or other in-demand STEM disciplines, while simultaneously building   professional skills through mentorships, site visits, and paid internships, culminating in interviews for appropriate job opportunities.

Established in 2011 by IBM in partnership with educators, P-TECH has been introduced in 24 countries including the U.S.A., Australia, New Zealand, Morocco, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore, Philippines and Thailand. P-TECH is expected to reach 220 schools worldwide by the end of this year, with more than 600 industry partners supporting the initiative. P-TECH is a response to the growing recognition that for many emerging, unfilled technology-related roles; flexible, relevant credentials and skills are paramount.

P-TECH students in Malaysia will be supported to complete a five-year structured programme at high school and in tertiary education. Successful students will be able to step easily into high-growth, “new collar” jobs. These “new collar” jobs are positions in some of the fastest growing industries, where what matters most is having in-demand technical and professional workplace skills, adaptability and recognized credentials.

Sekolah Menengah Vokasional (SMV) Sepang and SMV Sungai Buloh will begin pilot P-TECH programmes in 2020, with IBM and MDEC as strategic partners. P-TECH education will begin for approximately 60 students in both vocational schools.  The programme is expected to grow as more employers, high schools and tertiary-level universities join.

Malaysia is experiencing a shortage of ICT and STEM skills as a result of industries being reshaped by data science, AI, cloud computing and cybersecurity. A report by Kelly Services Malaysia’s 2019 Malaysia Salary Guide stated that Malaysia is facing challenges in building its digital workforce, as reflected in the fast-growing demand for digital talent despite a comparative shortfall in supply.

“The collaboration with IBM is timely as the intervention at this point of a student’s schooling life at the age of 16 would go a long way to bridge the gap and equip students with technical skills that are underpinned by essential communication basics to succeed in their careers, “ said Dr Sumitra Nair, Vice President, Tech Talent Development, MDEC.

She added: “We are excited by the looking forward to establish an internship program with P-TECH. This is a powerful partnership that combines high school, tertiary and industry working together to ensure work readiness and develop in-demand credentials and skills that employers need now and in the future.”

“At IBM we’re acutely aware of the urgent need for technical skills in many countries, and P-TECH is very much in line with the needs of Malaysian employers. Accordingly, we will do our part to achieve the government’s goal to double the number of skilled workers from 18% to 35% by 2025,” said Harriet Green, CEO and Chairman of IBM Asia Pacific.

“We are grateful for the support of the Ministry of Education and excited to partner SMV Sepang, and SMV Sungai Buloh and MDEC to bring P-TECH to life in Malaysia. This partnership will create new learning pathways directly to new collar jobs and help students better understand the connection between their coursework, field experiences and the workplace.”

IBM started the P-TECH model in Brooklyn, New York, in collaboration with the education and business communities. Early results in the U.S. show P-TECH graduation rates five times the on-time community college graduation rate for low-income students.

For more information about P-TECH, please access to ptech.org. For more information about IBM, please access to www.ibm.com.