Source: 123rf

Employee performance has been hampered for some time by a skills mismatch in the labour market, with the employment rate among fresh graduates remaining low. YAB. Chow Kon Yeow recently launched the Penang Vocational Courses Portal developed by Penang Institute to encourage more student participation in self-development for their social well-being. This one-stop platform was created amid the Covid-19 pandemic in response to the growing demand for skilling opportunities among school leavers and newly unemployed individuals.

Penang Institute’s Executive Director, Dato’ Dr. Ooi Kee Beng, said, “the portal initiative aims to assist school leavers, assisting them in selecting appropriate vocational courses for their further studies.”

The Institute also seeks to promote vocational education as a viable educational option, as it is frequently perceived as a less prestigious option than academic study. This situation has resulted in limited enrolment in vocational education and affecting skilled labour in the country. “We can foster collaboration in lifelong education opportunities and learn more about the vocational education sector in the state by creating a vocational education training portal,” Dato’ Dr. Ooi said in his speech before Chief Minister YAB. Chow Kon Yeow launched the portal at the Institute earlier this month.

Vocational education is not a final pathway choice of education when everything else fails. Vocational education is very practical in nature, linking knowledge and skill acquisition directly to employment opportunities. Attracting more youth to enrol in vocational courses will provide them with future-ready skills, allowing them to secure better jobs that in the end will benefit the state’s economy.

Chow hoped that all Penangites would fully utilise the website ( that Penang Institute created. In an era of rapid technological advancement, improving the state’s vocational education system is crucial to develop more future talent. Moreover, the state urgently requires skilled workers ready to enter the employment market in both of these fields – manufacturing and service sectors particularly tourism-related businesses.

The event also featured PERSOLKELLY as a keynote speaker, who shared market insights on demand and future vocational career opportunities. Meanwhile, vocational graduates from The One Academy and Forward School participated in a panel discussion to share their vocational educational experiences. Also, booths were set up by the vocational education institutions so that parents, students, and passionate individuals could learn on various vocational education courses that are available in the state of Penang.

Preparing for an era of disruption in education or the workplace may not be easy, and our future workers have no choice but to remain relevant and competitive to thrive in the global industrial market.