The German Dual Vocational Training Program (GDVT) is a new initiative introduced in Malaysia in 2014, providing the opportunity of completing a two-track vocational training following the German model. Together with German and Malaysian companies and two vocational schools, the Malaysian-German Chamber of Commerce (MGCC) is leading the project.
Currently, the GDVT offers training for Industrial Management, Logistic Operations Management and Mechatronics. The training takes three to three and a half years. Additional vocational training opportunities, for example in the field of electronics or precision mechanics are already in the planning and will be implemented upon request.
“As in Germany, the GDVT consists of 75% practical experience at work and 25% theory at the vocational school,” Josef Tschoep from MGCC explains. “The basis for the training is determined by the corresponding German regulations and curricula, which are brought in accordance with local conditions. The same applies to the intermediate and final examinations”, he says.
The primary objective of the GDVT program is to train urgently needed qualified personnel in Malaysia. Accordingly, most training enterprises are offering an employment following the completion of training. Among the participating German companies in Malaysia are Infineon, BOSCH, TÜV Rheinland, B. Braun, Jowat, Mühlbauer and DB Schenker.
“Of course, we are interested in retaining all trainees after graduation,” says Wolfgang Laabs, Managing Director of DB Schenker. Currently, there are four trainees in the company, two more will be following. “Education in Malaysia means `training on the job´. This limits the uptake of knowledge and skills to specific sectors within a company. In contrast, the completion of a qualified practical AND theoretical training ensures that all relevant departments of the company will be included and thus the absorption of knowledge and skills is optimised.”
Since September 2016, the company Mühlbauer has also been participating in the GDTV. In the past, the company had tried in vain to establish a dual training in Malaysia following German model. “It failed due to regulations and requirements of the Malaysian authorities”, says Christian Wachtmeister, who was the site manager of the Malaysian plant until 2011 and is now operating at its headquarters in Roding, Bavaria. Instead, Mühlbauer launched its own “Training Academy” in Melaka to train its employees adequately.
The company has high expectations towards GDVT. “We are convinced that the dual vocational training which is the backbone and talent pool of the German economy will also help us to form committed and practically experienced staff in Malaysia,” Mr Wachtmeister says. “Our goal with this program is to train future professionals and managers at our facility in Melaka and we plan to employ all of them if they perform well.” A committed young Malaysian who has completed his studies in mechanical engineering in Germany has been hired as a training manager. In addition, trainees on higher levels will be sent to courses in Germany while trainers from Germany will give lectures on selected topics in Malaysia.
Important partners in the program are the two participating professional schools, the Skills Development Centre in Penang and the German-Malaysian Institute (GMI). The latter was founded 25 years ago aiming to provide practical training on machines and materials in collaboration with industry.
The feedback from trainees and companies is very positive: the trainees report that they feel more confident and independent with the responsibility handed over to them in the workplace. The trainers of the companies confirm this and see their trainees as an integral part of the team. “Schenker will continue to actively support this Dual Vocational Training in Malaysia with a focus on` Transport and Logistics Management´ in the coming years,” confirms Wolfgang Laabs.
Last, not least, the MGCC is serving as a coordinating organisation among the institutions involved, and at the same time is also responsible for quality assurance and certification of dual training on the German model acts.
The Malaysian government has recognised the importance of dual training, particularly in view of its ambitious goal to catch up to the highly developed industrial nations by 2020: in the 11th Malaysia Plan approved in 2015, it announced to make the “Malaysian Meister” the premium diploma level in vocational education.