On the trail to em­ploy­a­bil­ity

New Straits Times - - Higher ED - ROZANA SANI rsani@nst.com.my DATUK HAMIDAH NAZIADIN

EVER won­dered how it is like in the cor­po­rate world with dead­lines to meet in nu­mer­ous dif­fer­ent projects — some run­ning in par­al­lel — and a mish-mash of per­son­al­i­ties to work with to pull it all off?

This is the sit­u­a­tion sim­u­lated in the an­nual CIMB Tal­ent Trail 2017, a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Tal­ent Cor­po­ra­tion Malaysia (Ta­len­tCorp) and CIMB Group for Malaysian univer­sity students to en­hance their em­ploy­a­bil­ity skills. Now into its third edi­tion, the high-en­ergy chal­lenge re­quires ac­tive team par­tic­i­pa­tion from univer­sity students with the ob­jec­tive of help­ing them ap­ply and hone skills val­ued by to­day’s em­ploy­ers.

Re­cently con­cluded, the fi­nale saw 60 suc­cess­ful fi­nal­ist teams from 29 uni­ver­si­ties na­tion­wide — out of the 313 teams that reg­is­tered — ply the com­pe­ti­tion route across Kuala Lumpur ei­ther on foot or by pub­lic trans­port.

Apart from English lan­guage, in­ter­per­sonal and com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills, the tasks also re­quired team­work and adapt­abil­ity in fac­ing chal­lenges, all within a stip­u­lated time frame. Par­tic­i­pants were pro­vided a pre-loaded Touch ‘n Go card as an aid for pub­lic trans­porta­tion.

The CIMB Tal­ent Trail also re­quires reg­is­trants to an­swer ques­tions on CIMB Group, Ta­len­tCorp and CIMB Fu­sion part­ners. CIMB Fu­sion is a unique grad­u­ate man­age­ment pro­gramme for fresh grad­u­ates to gain ex­po­sure from both CIMB and an em­ployer from a dif­fer­ent in­dus­try.

In ad­di­tion, this year’s chal­lenge tested par­tic­i­pants’ skills in dig­i­tal and so­cial me­dia plat­forms to as­sess par­tic­i­pants’ tech­no­log­i­cal-savvi­ness. Each fi­nal­ist team had to sub­mit a two-minute YouTube video that best en­cap­su­lates key learn­ing from the CIMB Tal­ent Trail 2017 in their quest to gar­ner ad­di­tional Chal­lenge points.

“CIMB is pas­sion­ate about tal­ent de­vel­op­ment and the CIMB Tal­ent Trail is one of our many ac­tiv­i­ties that helps ed­u­cate and pre­pare Malaysian students to en­hance their em­ploy­a­bil­ity. In to­day’s global and con­nected en­vi­ron­ment, a good com­mand of English and pro­fi­ciency in so­cial me­dia and dig­i­tal chan­nels will pro­vide an edge and open up more ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties for job seek­ers. We would also like to thank Ta­len­tCorp for their as­sis­tance in ex­tend­ing our reach to univer­sity students na­tion­wide,” said Datuk Hamidah Naziadin, who is CIMB Group chief peo­ple of­fi­cer.

Ta­len­tCorp chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Sha­reen Shariza Ab­dul Ghani added: “The CIMB Tal­ent Trail is an in­no­va­tive pro­gramme that helps our young tal­ents to en­hance their em­ploy­a­bil­ity and im­prove their tran­si­tion into the work­force. We are pleased to col­lab­o­rate with CIMB on this ini­tia­tive, which serves as a great plat­form for our young Malaysians to test their skills through a se­ries of ex­cit­ing out­door chal­lenges.”

One of the ac­tiv­i­ties this year also in­cor­po­rated giv­ing back to so­ci­ety. Students were tasked to sell cook­ies to the pub­lic, which re­quires ne­go­ti­a­tion and per­sua­sion skills. All pro­ceeds would go to Sim­ply Cook­ies, a so­cial en­ter­prise that pro­vides — through their child­friendly fa­cil­i­ties — bak­ing skills to sin­gle par­ents and their chil­dren.

Team C-E-O-S from Sun­way Univer­sity tri­umphed over 59 other teams of “tal­ent trail­blaz­ers” to take home the top prize of RM5,000 cash. Mean­while, Team AD Vic­to­riam from Ad­vance Ter­tiary Col­lege took the se­cond prize amount­ing to RM3,000 cash while third place was oc­cu­pied by Team Mil­len­nium X from Tunku Ab­dul Rah­man Col­lege who won RM2,000 cash. All 28 win­ning teams were re­warded with cash prizes to­tal­ing RM25,000.

The win­ning team — Team C-E-O-S, Sun­way Univer­sity, com­pris­ing team leader BSc (Hons) Ac­tu­ar­ial Stud­ies stu­dent Karan­bir Hun­dal, 30; BSc (Hons) Psy­chol­ogy stu­dent Amanda Lee Sing Nee, 22; ICAEW (Sun­way TES) stu­dent Jo­lene Tay Chuan Phing, 21; and ACCA (Sun­way TES) stu­dent Low Shu Yie, 21 — did not aim for the top spot but was mo­ti­vated to put to­gether a de­cent front and form strong col­lab­o­ra­tive re­la­tion­ships in or­der to com­plete each task in the chal­lenge.

“We didn’t know each other be­fore the com­pe­ti­tion — in fact, the first time we met was dur­ing din­ner two hours be­fore we drove up to Pe­nang for the re­gional round! So we bonded along the way and by the fi­nale, we were pretty solid. It was a lit­tle ran­dom ex­per­i­ment on my part, prov­ing that peo­ple from dif­fer­ent back­grounds with com­ple­men­tary skillsets can still come to­gether and work well to­wards hav­ing a good time and if ev­ery­thing was aligned, maybe win,” said team leader Karan­bir.

On what were the main chal­lenges dur­ing the fi­nale, Lee cited nav­i­gat­ing through the game sta­tions in Kuala Lumpur. “We took the wrong route and wasted around 10 min­utes get­ting to one of the sta­tions. Luck­ily for us, the fi­nal sta­tion didn’t take long for us to com­plete and we reached the fin­ish line in time,” she said.

For Tay it was the time con­straints and be­ing re­source­ful. “We al­most didn’t com­plete the last chal­lenge due to the lack of time man­age­ment. Some chal­lenges re­quired us to think out of the box and to pull our re­sources to­gether to get the best re­sults,” she re­flected.

Low added that the group’s goal was to bal­ance well be­tween time and scor­ing high points. “We made mis­takes along the way, but we man­aged to give our best within the given time.”

For the group, be­ing named the Grand Fi­nale Cham­pion val­i­dated the skills the mem­bers al­ready had and made them re­alise av­enues to be ex­plored and skills to be im­proved upon.

“In terms of em­ploy­a­bil­ity, it gave us a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of what to­day’s em­ploy­ers look for and how we can com­ple­ment the com­pany in the val­ues and con­tri­bu­tions we can of­fer. We are more mar­ketable now and fu­ture em­ploy­ers should keep a close look­out for us,” Karan­bir re­marked.

Lee said the CIMB Tal­ent Trail helped them with their in­ter­view skills, in-depth re­search about com­pa­nies as well as skills like team­work, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, and the English lan­guage.

“The main take­away I got from the com­pe­ti­tion is to plan your steps and be able to make de­ci­sions in a pres­sured en­vi­ron­ment. Be­ing able to com­pro­mise in a team and work to­gether with the same goal in mind is also cru­cial. I be­lieve that th­ese are some of the skills sought by em­ploy­ers and can help con­trib­ute to the strong growth of the com­pany,” Tay shared.

Low be­lieves the CIMB Tal­ent Trail has raised par­tic­pants’ aware­ness of how im­por­tant em­ploy­a­bil­ity skills are in the fu­ture. “The job market is in­creas­ingly com­pet­i­tive and we have to stand out to get the job we want. The com­pe­ti­tion pro­vided use­ful in­sights on the skills needed for the job market. We are grate­ful for the ex­po­sure and will now con­tinue to brush up on our skills,” he said.

The CIMB Fu­sion part­ners show­cased in the CIMB Tal­ent Trail 2017 were PwC, Ac­cen­ture, Teach For Malaysia, ZICOlaw, and Hewlett Packard En­ter­prise.

CIMB is pas­sion­ate about tal­ent de­vel­op­ment and the CIMB Tal­ent Trail is one of our many ac­tiv­i­ties that helps ed­u­cate and pre­pare Malaysian students to en­hance their em­ploy­a­bil­ity.”

The CIMB Tal­ent Trail 2017 be­ing flagged off by Datuk Hamidah Naziadin.

First prize winner team C-E-O-S from Sun­way Univer­sity (front row cen­tre), se­cond prize winner Team AD Vic­to­riam from Ad­vance Ter­tiary Col­lege and third prize winner Team Mil­len­nium X from Tunku Ab­dul Rah­man Col­lege cel­e­brat­ing their vic­tory.

Team C-E-O-S go­ing through one of the tasks.

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