A bright path ahead
SPEAKING at the 9th Asean Education Ministers Meeting, held in Malaysia on May 24, New Zealand Tertiary Education Commission chief executive Tim Fowler commented that Technical Vocational Education and Training ( TVET) is imperative and absolutely critical to Asean’s economic development. This aligns closely with the Malaysian Government’s projections that approximately one and a half million jobs will be created by 2020 and 60% will require TVET- related skills.
Within Malaysia, there has also been an increasing push to embrace technical and vocational education as a viable education option, as opposed to viewing it as a second- class education. Currently, the marketability of TVET graduates in Malaysia’s employment market is higher ( 98%) compared to university graduates ( 60%). Furthermore, in addition to being employed faster, TVET graduates are also offered higher wages due to the high demand for graduates with specific skill sets.
The continued support from Malaysian Government and industries has further helped students embrace the TVET educational pathway.
These efforts have not gone unnoticed with Fowler also commenting that New Zealand is highly supportive of every effort made by Malaysia to use TVET as a means to further develop as a nation.
In addition to being home to a number of internationally renowned universities, New Zealand also offers a multitude of diverse and well- established TVET institutions. Currently, tertiary TVET falls under Professional and Vocational Education ( PAVE) in New Zealand and offered at Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics ( ITPs), Industry Training Organisations ( ITOs) and Private Training Establishments ( PTEs). PAVE provides students hands- on education that helps them think creatively, improve their skills and increase their employment opportunity with a qualification recognised around the world.
Entry to courses generally requires completion of Malaysia’s secondary certificate Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia ( STPM) and Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia ( SPM). Additionally, potential students must meet English language requirements, although entry requirements vary between institutions. Currently, the New Zealand TVET sector provides courses at certificate, diploma undergraduate and postgraduate levels. These qualifications recognise skills and knowledge that meet nationally endorsed achievement standards.
Research has also shown increasing demand for increased Malaysian expertise in areas such as tourism, hospitality, ICT and engineering. New Zealand offers a number of institutions known for producing well- rounded, workready graduates in these fields.
With campuses in Dunedin, Otago and Auckland, Otago Polytechnic is one of the foremost institutes in New Zealand. Furthermore, Otago Polytechnic offers study programmes ranging from undergraduate certificates, diplomas and degrees, through to postgraduate master’s degrees. New Zealand Quality Assessment’s ( NZQA) External Evaluation and Review in 2014 gave Otago Polytechnic its highest possible rating – “highly confident” in educational performance, virtually guaranteeing a quality education here.
The Wellington Institute of Technology ( WelTec) is home to one of the country’s most well established ICT ( Information and Communications Technology) schools with graduates reputed as talented and skilled technologists. In May, WelTec partnered with New Zealand’s largest dedicated Microsoft business solutions provider Intergen, to help meet its ICT workforce requirements. Intergen chief executive officer Simon Bright said, “The graduates WelTec produces with advanced applied ICT skills is exactly what we are looking for.”
One of the most popular PTEs is Queenstown Resort College ( QRC). Widely regarded as New Zealand’s premier Tourism and Hospitality Management College, its holistic education provides integrated theoretical and practical knowledge alongside opportunities to undertake relevant internships and work placements.
Last year, Malaysian college Kolej Yayasan Saad ( KYS) partnered with QRC to offer one of QRC’s most popular courses, the Diploma in Adventure Tourism Management, to Malaysian students. A large part of this partnership will involve Malaysian students undergoing a nine- month internship with adventure tourism operators in Queenstown.
“The key outcome for these students is to work in the industry or be entrepreneurs and set up their own adventure tourism businesses. There are a few ( adventure tourism) activities in Malaysia now but there’s certainly a lot of potential,” said Queenstown Resort College chief executive Charlie Phillips.
A New Zealand education offers a holistic experience.