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Prepping the digital talent

With the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the country’s desire for digital economic growth, the demand for workers in the digital technology sector is beginning to increase.

A recent report noted that while all sectors are said to be in dire need of talent, digital technology is unique — being a fast-moving sector — and it is difficult to not only find sufficient talent but also the right workforce with the right skill sets and at the right time.

Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) director of talent stated that we are an entity with a mandate to attract investments into the country.

Potential investors are asking whether the nation has sufficient talent. They want to know whether it will be easy to hire and if there will be an adequate workforce.

MDEC is the nation’s lead agency in driving the digital economy. It is tasked with creating a vibrant environment for the economy to thrive and ensure that the country plays a key role in its revolution.

To produce top graduates in digital technology, MDEC and the Education Ministry have awarded a recognition status to selected higher-learning institutions called Premier Digital Tech Universities (PDTUs) and Preferred Digital Tech Polytechnics (PDTPs).

Awarded to 13 higher-learning institutions in August last year, the status recognises their quality and commitment in offering top-notch digital technology courses.

The eight PDTUs are Universiti Malaya, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Universiti Teknologi Mara, Multimedia University, Tunku Abdul Rahman University College, Sunway University, Taylor’s University and Asia-Pacific University.

The five PDTPs are Politeknik Balik Pulau (Penang), Politeknik Mersing (Johor), Politeknik Sultan Idris Shah (Selangor), Politeknik Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin (Terengganu) and Politeknik Ungku Omar (Perak).

If graduates from the eight universities prove to be highly employable, particularly in the digital tech sector, the model can be replicated in other institutions — an initiative that the ministry can take so there is a sustainable talent pipeline for the industry, according to the director of talent.

While most programmes for digital tech workforce development are bridging courses, the director stated that PDTU programmes could save time and money as they were embedded in the campus.

This is part of the group’s end-to-end strategy with the ministry and partners to create a sustainable talent pipeline, which begins with the #mydigitalmaker programme that looks at seeding an innovative mindset among schoolchildren.

PDTUs provide a complete, sustainable and well-supported ecosystem, where the student experience is structured to provide optimum exposure to the latest industry technologies by both faculty members and industry players.

PDTPs, on the other hand, is designed to emulate PDTUs in formulating a structured ecosystem actively supported by the industry.

The graduates of these polytechnics are envisioned to meet the requirements of industry players, whose talent needs are inclined towards Technical and Vocational Education and Training.

The PDTU programme also hopes to provide a “Green Lane” for the Education Ministry’s matriculation college students to enrol in digital sector programmes at PDTUs.

The creators of the programmes hope to fast-track students with innovative skills from our #mydigitalmaker programme in eight universities. If the group leaves it to chance, they may not take up digital technology and the investment in grooming the students will be lost. Thus, this is how the group will ensure there is an end-to-end solution.