Enhancing Industry-academia Collaboration

Nov 21, 2014 1 Min Read

LDR-PDF-download-110x110Photo credit (above): tec_estromberg | Flickr

The need to enhance the quality of Malaysian graduates is a common feedback from employers.

There is undoubtedly a need to address the skills mismatch, but universities on their own cannot produce graduates who are ready for the workforce unless they have a clear understanding of what employers are looking for in entry-level graduates.

More can, and should be done by universities and companies to collaboratively develop industry-ready graduates.

The current reality, based on the 2014 World Bank-TalentCorp survey, is that most companies do not engage with local universities to communicate their views of what or how students should be learning in order to boost their employability.

Less than 10% of the companies who participated in the survey have had experience in developing curricula or joint programmes.

At the recent Budget 2015 announcement, the Prime Minister has called upon greater industry-academia collaboration to nurture home-grown Malaysian talent.

The Budget 2015 has allocated RM30mil for Industry-Academia Collaboration where TalentCorp and Ministry of Education will drive initiatives between universities and employers to promote industry engagement with students and develop industry focused curriculum, such as for short courses and industrial training.

This much required push for private-public and industry-academia collaboration has resulted in TalentCorp working even closer with both the universities and leading employers to create the Industry Engagement Zone, or Ind-E-Zone, which is an area specifically dedicated within a university campus to encourage direct interfacing between host universities, their students and key industries.

TalentCorp launched the first Ind-E-Zone, which was officiated by YB Datuk Seri Haji Idris Jusoh, Minister of Education II at Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia on Nov 12.

Eleven public universities have been identified to partner with TalentCorp in hosting the Ind-E-Zone, with the aim to provide undergraduates with adequate information on career opportunities and what employers look for, so that they can make informed decisions on their career options.

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“By building better and closer partnerships between employers, universities and the Government, we can collectively ensure Malaysia has the steady stream of industry-ready graduates that its bright economic future requires,” said YB Datuk Seri Haji Idris Jusoh at the launch of Ind-E-Zone.

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Silterra-UniMAP Collaboration

Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) is now one of the leading universities in MEMS microfabrication and design research activities in Malaysia. It has a new industry-standard Centre of Excellence, named AMBIENCE (Advanced Multidisciplinary MEMS-Based Integrated Electronics NCER Centre of Excellence) which is in collaboration with Silterra Malaysia Sdn Bhd (Silterra).

AMBIENCE is equipped with state of the art design suites including leading industry standard MEMS design tools. The centre also boasts a MEMS fast prototyping tool, and other new, specialised and advanced MEMS microfabrication tools such as the special industry-standard advanced MEMS release tool and surface coating tool.

INTI and Motorolla collaboration

In 2011, INTI collaborated with Motorola Solutions with the development of the curriculum for the embedded system modules relevant to the E&E sector and provided real-life projects to its students. The collaboration benefitted INTI as an academic institution to establish the adjunct faculty, industry guest lectures and technical seminars.

“Employer Projects” are real life projects where INTI students are prepared to be employable by enhancing their soft skills, creative and critical thinking skills and technical competency skills for a duration of 10–12 weeks.

“Smart Car Future Design for Specific Industry Application” was undertaken by 2nd year bachelor of electrical & electronics degree students where they were to design an energy saving and environmentally friendly car. Students were exposed to a wide variety of skills such as problem solving, technical design, research, testing, prototyping, programming for micro-controller, electronic sensing, etc. The project was supervised by a senior R&D engineer and distinguished member of technical staff, Penang Design Centre of Motorola Solutions.

Graduate Recruitment Awards (GRA) 2014

TalentCorp, in partnership with GTI Media, has introduced a special recognition for the “Most Resourceful Career Centre” at the gradmalaysia Graduate Recruitment Awards (GRA) 2014. Endorsed by the Ministry of Education (MoE), it is split into two categories – Public Universities and Private Universities and UiTM was awarded the winner under the Public Universities category.


Mariatul Kabtiah Yahaya, deputy head, career and counselling centre, UiTM receiving the award from Prof Madya Dr Arham Abdullah, director, division of industrial relations, Education Ministry.

Winner – Most Resourceful Career Centre (Public University)

Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM)
TalentCorp, in partnership with GTI Media, has introduced a special recognition for the “Most Resourceful Career Centre” at the gradmalaysia Graduate Recruitment Awards (GRA) 2014. Endorsed by the Ministry of Education (MoE), it is split into two categories – Public Universities and Private Universities and UiTM was awarded the winner under the Public Universities category.

UiTM Career Unit was established in 1969 to guide the students in carving their career pathway and to enhance their employability. The Career Unit serves two functions –“job placements and employer relation” and “career development” and has collaborated with various industries, multinational corporation, government-linked companies and ministries in bringing the best career opportunities and exposure to the students and alumni.

UiTM’s many unique features in the role of building and executing effective industry-academia collaboration are Jobshop, Career Attack, XPD Career, Career Clinic, Career Psychological Testing, CaiRex (career exhibition), Finishing School, Career Outreach and many more.

UiTM Collaboration With CIMA

UiTM has embarked on various initiatives to produce qualified accountants, including partnering with professional accounting bodies like CIMA which has awarded UiTM with the “CIMA Quality Learning Partner”.

This is a global recognition of the teaching quality at UiTM and CIMA students from UiTM have been named prize winners for their achievements in the CIMA examinations. CIMA has also signed a memorandum of understanding with UiTM to work together on students’ activities and to recruit new students.

As part of the collaboration, UiTM students will be able to pursue CIMA professional papers during their internship programme with employers. This is in line with government aspiration to produce 60,000 qualified accountants by 2020.

UiTM JobShop

“I went through JobShop UiTM to get to know career opportunities in various industries. It has helped me look for job opportunities and have given me tips to secure my first job.” – Siti Nor Khodijah, Bachelor of Accountancy

UiTM Finishing School

“The “Finishing School” organised by the Career & Counselling Centre gave me the realisation that I had to enhance my soft skills. It was a great exposure for me; the knowledge and confidence gained has helped me to be better prepared in pursuing my career aspirations.” – Muhammad Amjad, Bachelor of Accountancy

Graduate programmes to attract top entry-level talent

Based on the 2014 World Bank-TalentCorp “Matching Talent to Jobs” survey findings, about 75% of companies have introduced premium graduate programmes or management trainee programmes to attract top entry-level talent.

These programmes are in addition to their existing generic recruitment of graduates. The survey shows that 43% of companies interviewed paid these “premium” entry-level graduates between RM3,000 and RM5,000 a month.

WINNER – Best Graduate Programme

CIMB Fusion
CIMB Fusion is a revolutionary graduate programme that was conceived in 2012 to attract talent back to Malaysia. Conceived as the pilot project with PwC, its success led CIMB to expand the partnership in 2013 to more industries and reach out to more Malaysian undergraduates.

CIMB Group partners six other employers who are leaders in their own fields – PwC, Accenture, Hewlett Packard, FCB Kuala Lumpur, ZICOlaw and Teach for Malaysia.

CIMB Fusion is open to graduates from diverse background and disciplines, including accounting, economics, law, management, business, IT, marketing, mass communications, humanities, social sciences and the sciences.

Partnerships with six industry leaders

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Career awareness through social media

With the Gen-Y being a prominent player in the job market, there is now a stronger emphasis on using social media to raise career awareness and to reach out to undergraduates and young professionals to improve employability.

WINNER – Best Social Media Usage

Accenture Malaysia
Accenture Malaysia consistently uses social media to reach out to its target audience. The combination of on-ground and online activities has enabled it to push for greater success in its campaigns.

Hangouts on Google+:
One platform that Accenture has innovatively used is the Hangouts feature of Google+, enabling them to share interesting, relevant content at no cost, to drive engagement and awareness. At the Hangout sessions, Accenture’s industry experts are invited to share their insights about a technology topic, while recruiters are also online to answer recruitment-related questions.

An example of Accenture’s Hangout sessions via Google+:


Women in Technology Hangout – Women technology experts invited to share their insights on Accenture’s programmes for women, the latest industry trends, and tips to jumpstart and grow a technology career.

Graduate campaigns on social media

Since its Facebook page was setup in 2008, Accenture has been using this social media channel to promote its programmes.

Accenture Return Home Programme

This programme invites Malaysian students studying in Australia, the UK and the United States to return home and start a career with Accenture.

To learn more about this programme, visit accenture.com/returnhome

Exposure to industry through structured internships

It was highlighted in the 2015 budget speech that by 2020, 46% of jobs will require technical and vocational qualifications. To meet the resource demand, the Government will increase students intake in vocational and community colleges through the vocational and technical transformation programme.

In view of the need to prepare TVET students to be industry-ready, the TalentCorp Structured Internship Programme (SIP) has been extended to diploma holders.

For more information on SIP, visit sip.talentcorp.com.my

WINNER – Best Internship Experience

Maybank Internship Programme
The internship programme at Malayan Banking Bhd meets the criteria outlined by TalentCorp’s SIP.

Interns will be given a set of learning objectives from the beginning to ensure they have an overview and understanding of what is expected of them throughout the internship experience. The supervisors of the respective departments or project team are tasked with leading, coaching, and guiding the intern through their first real life job experience.

The structured yet flexible programme serves as a platform for interns to secure a position with Maybank, be it through the graduate programme that Maybank offers – Global Maybank Apprentice Programmes or through direct hire.

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Internship programme in the Shared Services and Outsourcing (SSO) sector

Talent shortage and mismatch of skills are often highlighted by employers in the SSO sector. One of the programmes which has been put in place to bridge this skills gap is an initiative in collaboration with the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP), which aims to provide comprehensive knowledge and exposure on SSO industry tools.

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Innovation on campus – Exposure to industry through competitions

The 2014 World Bank-TalentCorp “Matching Talent to Jobs” survey highlighted that 81% of respondents identify communication skills as an area that Malaysian graduates should improve on, followed by creative thinking, analytical skills and problem-solving abilities.

Competitions are organised in collaboration with employers to provide opportunities for young talents to engage with prominent industry leaders, to develop their confidence and communication skills and to demonstrate their problem-solving abilities.

CIMB Talent Trail 2014

CIMB Talent Trail 2014 Prize-giving

(Above: Sixty teams from 18 universities participated in the competition in March.)

In collaboration with TalentCorp, the “CIMB Talent Trail” invites university students to come together, have fun using English, and learn about employability skills. It is an outdoor challenge whereby activities are designed with employability and English language skills in mind. Participants traversed Kuala Lumpur on foot and public transport to complete a series of activities.

For employers who are keen to collaborate with universities and engage with undergraduates on career awareness, internships, competitions or curriculum, please call us at 03-8892 3800 or email us at info@talentcorp.com.my. For more information on campus related activities, follow us on www.facebook.com/SectorFocusedCareerFairSFCF

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