Lo­cal youths ben­e­fit from in­fra­struc­ture projects

Ga­muda rises to the chal­lenge in meet­ing the na­tion’s need for highly-skilled work­force

New Straits Times - - News -

IN a quiet sub-ur­ban neigh­bour­hood in Ipoh, one com­pany is mak­ing great strides in up­skilling mainly SPM school leavers in tech­ni­cal and tun­nelling skills in its bid to cre­ate a well-trained lo­cal work­force to build the na­tion‘s mega in­fra­struc­ture.

This is none other than MMCGa­muda Joint Ven­ture (MGJV), the com­pany en­trusted with the sig­nif­i­cant role of de­liv­er­ing Malaysia’s first MRT project in a first of its kind role as the Project De­liv­ery Part­ner. It is also the un­der­ground con­trac­tor for the coun­try‘s pi­o­neer Klang Val­ley MRT project.

To meet the need for skilled man­power and to de­liver the MRT on time and on bud­get, MGJV ini­ti­ated the TBM Re­fur­bish­ment Plant, in Pus­ing near Ipoh, where the highly-com­plex Tun­nel Bor­ing Ma­chines are sent for re­fur­bish­ment and up­grad­ing works.

Work­ing on these ma­chines are Malaysian youths who were trained at MGJV‘s Tun­nel­ing Train­ing Academy (TTA) in Kota Ke­mu­ning, which was set up in De­cem­ber 2011.

With the Sun­gai Bu­loh-Kajang MRT Line slated for de­liv­ery to the Govern­ment in July, more than 900 skilled work­ers, qual­i­fied to work un­der­ground, are be­ing pre­pared to work on the sec­ond line of the MRT.

The Sun­gai Bu­lo­hSer­dang-Putrajaya Line or SSP will have 11 un­der­ground sta­tions within the 13.5km tun­nel align­ment.

Ga­muda En­gi­neer­ing man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, Datuk Ubull Din Om said the TTA and TBM Re­fur­bish­ment Plant not only pre­pares the trainees but also raises their prospects to earn more.

“Prior to join­ing TTA, some of the trainees were earn­ing as low as RM900, but af­ter suc­cess­fully com­plet­ing their course and join­ing MMC-Ga­muda, their salaries nearly tripled with start­ing pay rang­ing from RM1,200 (tun­nel crew) to RM2,500 (elec­tri­cal and me­chan­i­cal works),” he said.

At the re­fur­bish­ment plant, 70 per cent†of the TBM parts used for TBM re­fur­bish­ment are lo­cally man­u­fac­tured and al­most RM50 mil­lion worth of lo­cal parts are pro­cured from the lo­cal sup­ply chain.

“Ini­tially, we had to keep go­ing back to Ger­many for re­fur­bish­ment work re­quired on the TBM be­cause that‘s where the ma­chines are from, and these costs were in­curred in for­eign cur­rency.

“But over time, we en­sured a proper trans­fer of tech­nol­ogy by bring­ing ex­perts from Her­renknecht AG to train our peo­ple at our very own TBM Re­fur­bish­ment Plant.

“By get­ting these jobs done lo­cally, we earn for­eign ex­change sav­ings, which is very valu­able in cur­rent times, given the volatil­ity of the ring­git. “But more im­por­tantly, we are up­skilling our lo­cal work­force in a lead­ing world tech­nol­ogy in­volv­ing TBMs and also pro­vid­ing them with jobs on our MRT project,” ex­plained Ubull.

In a re­cent visit to the re­fur­bish­ment plant in Pus­ing, the News Straits Times and Berita Har­ian met with the TTA grad­u­ates and trainees who are blaz­ing the trail in ac­quir­ing the knowl­edge, skills and com­pe­ten­cies.

Zul Fazreen Azhar, 26, is among those who ben­e­fited from the tun­nel­ing in­dus­try train­ing school.

He had not ex­pected a bright fu­ture due to his lack of higher ed­u­ca­tion and skills, but the de­ci­sion to en­roll with TTA in the mid­dle of 2013 proved to be a turn­ing point in his life.

Zul Fazreen, the youngest of three sib­lings, re­alised that this would be a good op­por­tu­nity to earn a bet­ter pay and im­prove the liveli­hood of his fam­ily.

Hav­ing pre­vi­ously worked in Port Klang do­ing wiring works with his un­cle for over a year, the Sul­tan Azlan Shah Polytech­nic grad­u­ate un­der­stands what it means to be stuck in low pay­ing, me­nial jobs.

“When I first learned about TTA from friends, I was also at­tracted to the idea of work­ing in the tun­nel­ing in­dus­try as it is to­tally new to me.

“I am proud to be part of the work­force be­hind the MRT project.

“Thanks to the qual­ity and rel­e­vance of the train­ing pro­vided at TTA, I‘m able to up­grade knowl­edge, skills and per­for­mance to bol­ster my ca­reer prospects in the lo­cal con­struc­tion in­dus­try.

“I truly ap­pre­ci­ate the op­por­tu­nity, know­ing that de­mand for spe­cialised skills is on the rise,” he said.

Zul Fazreen, who did his train­ing with TTA be­tween May and Au­gust in 2013, pro­ceeded to work with MMCGa­muda in Septem­ber the same year as tun­nel crew.

For Muham­mad Iz­zat Ar­fan, 23, he still clearly re­mem­bers the first time he came face to face with the mas­sive TBMs.

Ke­lan­tan-born Iz­zat, who used to work as part-time cashier at a Petronas petrol sta­tion, is grate­ful that he is now part of the ma­chine’s oper­a­tion, car­ry­ing out main­te­nance work at the work­shop in Pus­ing.

“The pro­gramme fo­cuses on cul­ti­vat­ing the core skills and com­pe­ten­cies that stu­dents will need for their jobs and life-long de­vel­op­ment.

“It also devel­ops my abil­ity to work to­gether and in­ter­act with oth­ers, and gives me a sense of achieve­ment,” said Iz­zat, whose prior qual­i­fi­ca­tions in­cluded a Level 3 Malaysian Skills Cer­tifi­cates (SKM) and a Diploma in Me­chan­i­cal Main­te­nance from the Na­tional Youth Ad­vance Skills Train­ing In­sti­tute (IKTBN).

He is look­ing for­ward to com­plete the fi­nal phase of his train­ing and get in­volved in the tun­nel­ing works for MRT SSP line.

His col­league Baranitha­ran Ker­ish­nan, who also went through the TTA pro­gramme, said it made him more con­fi­dent at work per­for­mance.

“I find that I was able to take as­sign­ments more ac­tively, learn­ing di­rectly from my su­pe­ri­ors to im­prove my skills.

“At the same time, I’m op­ti­mistic of a bet­ter fu­ture now that I have the right skills set,” he said.

The 26-year old from Kuala Se­lan­gor, who worked as a Tech­ni­cian at Toy­ota

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