A Malaysian state wants to change the way its citizens look at vocational education. Penang state wants to students to see it as a path to get jobs, rather than as a last resort.

“We have a plan to re-write the concept of vocational training, which is looked upon as a profession for rejects, and the best place to begin would be the schools,”, said Penang’s Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

“We need to bring the vocational training programmes to these schools to give the factories the opportunity to recruit and train them at an early age,” he said.

The state has planned a recruitment roadshow to expand the reach of the programme. The Chief Minister believes that the recruitment drive should focus on the entire northern region to attract more talent, instead of a sole focus in Penang, according to The Star.

Last October, Penang signed on the German Dual Vocational Training (GVDT) programme – accredited by both the Malaysian And German education system – for RM2 million, where companies will hire students as regular staff and teach them on-the-job skills.

They will receive a monthly salary of RM1,000 paid by the participating companies, The Star reports.

“The GDVT programme which began last September has been successfully embraced by the manufacturing industry in Penang, which is still hampered by a lack of skilled workforce”, he said.

GVDT currently has an enrollment of 120 students in the Mechatronics programme. The second programme in Precision Machining is being approved by the federal authorities, and is likely to start this September, the Chief Minister said.