Kuala Lumpur: Muhammad Sayuti Rameli had failed secondary school, and many saw his future as bleak.
He often skipped school and was so unmotivated to learn that he even slept under his desk while lessons were taking place. The sixth child of 11 siblings from Pasir Mas, Kelantan, had felt that studying was cumbersome and was once even suspended for two weeks from school.
“I was a problematic student. My parents often had to come down to the school because of my behavioural problems. They were embarrassed, sad and angry. Their hopes for my success in life were dashed when they saw my terrible examination results,” said the 20-year-old.
It was because of that that he felt he had been given a second lease on life when Yayasan Peneraju Pendidikan Bumiputera (Yayasan Peneraju) offered him admission into one of their training programmes.
He opted to join the Peneraju Skil Jurukimpal (welding skills) programme. It helped him recognise the importance of education and prompted him to become committed to building a better future.
It was under the programme that he also learned that academic success was not the be all and end all.
“I did not have to worry about finding a job because by the end of my three-month training, I would be able to work with Sapura Kencana Petroleum Bhd with a salary of RM3,800. “My parents were the happiest. They never thought that I would one day be able to help out with the family’s finances,” he said to Bernama.
Muhammad Sayuti said he no longer felt inferior to friends who gained admittance into university as he had proven that those who did not excel academically could also succeed, if they were committed enough in honing their skills in other fields.
Changing the mentality and perception of Bumiputera students who did not perform well academically is one of the main agenda of Yayasan Peneraju.
In the journey, the three-year-old foundation is shouldering the crucial task of producing Bumiputera human capital that, through education, are knowledgeable, skillful and globally competitive. The technical and vocational fields are among those that were determined as capable of driving the economy among the Bumiputera group.
“We want to prove that academic success is not everything. If one has the skill, than it is possible to get a second chance at a better future and earn a lucrative pay,” said the foundation’s Chief Executive Raja Azura Raja Mahayuddin.
She said the demand for skilled workers in the technical and vocational fields were much needed as the country moved towards the status of a developed nation.
However, such workers only make up around 29 percent of the entire nation’s workforce. This is despite the target of 33 percent by this year and 50 per cent by 2020. Numerous efforts have been launched to increase the marketability of the manpower in such sectors.
The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak recently announced that the foundation will allocate RM72 million to develop some 5,000 Bumiputera human capital, this year.
The highest portion of the allocation for the 3,500 scholarship recipients of Peneraju Skil. The foundation that is operating under the Economic Planning Unit of the Prime Minister’s Department has set up three main programmes, namely Peneraju Tunas, Peneraju Skil and Peneraju Profesional.
There are five sub-programmes under Peneraju Skil: Peneraju Skil Iltizam, Peneraju Skil Jurukimpal, Peneraju Skil Inspektor Kimpalan, Peneraju Juruteknik Pesawat Berlesen and Peneraju Skil Perakaunan.
According to Raja Azura, the programme and training were to support other institutions catering for a similar purpose, such as Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara),so that they could better cater the current market needs.
The programmes under Peneraju Skil Iltizam include animation, healthcare, oil and gas and the port industry.
The prerequisites for acceptance into the programme are simple: candidates must be Bumiputera aged between 17 and 21 years old, are literate and have the strong resolve to better their lives.
The foundation would also arrange for job placements for candidates upon graduation.
Those who have gone for training at other institutions also have a chance to be funded for a programme by the institution, so that they can obtain international certification.
“One of such programmes is the welding programme. If their salary was previously RM800-RM1,200, they can easily earn higher after undergoing training under Yayasan Peneraju and earning international certification,” she said. To date, there are over 4,000 recipients of scholarships under Yayasan Peneraju. The foundation aims to develop some 40,000 participants from the period of its inception until 2020. – Bernama