Creating career pathways with TVET
Speaking at the 9th ASEAN Education Ministers Meeting, held in Malaysia on 24 May, Tim Fowler, New Zealand Tertiary Education Commission Chief Executive, commented that Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is imperative and absolutely critical to ASEAN’s economic development. This aligns closely with the Malaysian government’s projections that approximately one and a half million jobs will be created by 2020 and 60 per cent will require TVET-related skills.
Within Malaysia, there has also been an increasing push for students to embrace technical and vocational education as a viable education option, as opposed to viewing it as a second class education. Currently, the marketability of TVET graduates in Malaysia’s employment market is higher (98 per cent) compared to university graduates (60 per cent). Furthermore, in addition to being employed faster, TVET graduates are also offered higher wages due to the high demand for graduates with specific skill sets.
The continued support from Malaysian government and industries has further helped students embrace the TVET educational pathway. These efforts have not gone unnoticed, with Mr Fowler also commenting that New Zealand is highly supportive of every effort made by Malaysia to use TVET as a means by which they can further develop as a nation.
In addition to being home to a number of internationally renowned universities, New Zealand also offers a multitude of diverse and well-established TVET institutions. Currently, tertiary TVET falls under Professional and Vocational Education (PAVE) in New Zealand and is offered at Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs), Industry Training Organisations (ITOs) and Private Training Establishments (PTEs). PAVE provides students with the hands-on education that helps them think creatively, improve their skills and increase their employment opportunity with a qualification that’s recognised around the world.
Entry to courses in the TVET sector generally requires the completion of Malaysia’s secondary certificate Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) and Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM). Additionally, potential students must meet English language requirements, although entry requirements vary between institutions. Currently, the New Zealand TVET sector provides courses at certificate, diploma undergraduate and post-graduate levels. These qualifications recognise skills and knowledge that meet nationally endorsed achievement standards.
Research has also shown that there is increasing demand for increased Malaysian expertise in areas such as tourism, hospitality, ICT and engineering. New Zealand offers a number of institutions that are known for producing well-rounded and work-ready graduates in these fields.
ITPs and PTEs
With campuses in Dunedin, Otago and Auckland, Otago Polytechnic is one of the foremost institutes in New Zealand, offering hands-on education for a number of courses ranging from hospitality and tourism, media, health and trades. Furthermore, Otago Polytechnic offers study programmes ranging from undergraduate certificates, diplomas and degrees, through to postgraduate masters’ degrees. New Zealand Quality Assessment’s (NZQA) External Evaluation and Review in 2014 gave Otago Polytechnic their highest possible rating: "highly confident" in their educational performance, thereby virtually guaranteeing students a quality education at Otago Polytechnic.
The Wellington Institute of Technology (WelTec) is home to one of the country’s most well-established ICT (Information and Communications Technology) schools with graduates that are reputed to be talented and skilled technologists. In May, WelTec partnered with New Zealand’s largest dedicated Microsoft business solutions provider Intergen, to help meet its ICT workforce requirements. Intergen’s Chief Executive Officer, Simon Bright commented that “the graduates that WelTec produces with advanced applied ICT skills is exactly what we are looking for at Intergen”.
One of the most popular PTEs is Queenstown Resort College (QRC). Widely regarded as New Zealand’s premier Tourism & Hospitality Management College, its holistic education provides integrated theoretical and practical knowledge alongside opportunities to undertake relevant internships and work placements within the Hospitality or Adventure Tourism Management industries.
Last year, Malaysian college Kolej Yaysan Saad (KYS) partnered with QRC to offer one of QRC’s most popular courses, the Diploma in Adventure Tourism Management, to Malaysian students. A large part of this partnership will involve Malaysian students undergoing a nine-month internship with adventure tourism operators in Queenstown.
“The key outcome for these students is to go and work in the industry or be entrepreneurs and set up their own adventure tourism businesses. There are a few (adventure tourism) activities in Malaysia now but there’s certainly a lot of potential,” said Charlie Phillips, Queenstown Resort College chief executive.
New Zealand offers Malaysian students a wealth of educational opportunities, ranging from world renowned universities to ITPs and PTEs. Many of the courses offered in ITPs and PTEs are well positioned to meet Malaysia’s need for the growing demand for graduates with technical skills in the hospitality, ICT and engineering sectors.
Furthermore, with the introduction of the new Pathway Visa for International students, it is now much simpler to progress from one programme of study to another e.g. English language course to ICT Diploma. Malaysian students who choose to pursue TVET in New Zealand will be offered a world-class education that will mould them into industry-ready workers and, ultimately, make them an invaluable asset in a country that is striving towards a knowledge-driven economy.
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