Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) is lobbying for the introduction of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) into the country’s secondary school education to build greater awareness and understanding of hospitality as a career choice among schooling youths.
A proposal has been sent to the Ministry of Human Resources and Ministry of Education in July, according to MAH’s CEO Yap Lip Seng, among the other initiatives that the association has undertaken to develop the talent pool for Malaysia’s hospitality sector.
This development follows a cabinet meeting in May chaired by Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, who had expressed the government’s intention to drive youths’ involvement in TVET and subsequently increase the skill levels of Malaysia’s workforce.
This led to the formation of a cabinet committee on TVET empowerment, chaired by the minister of education Maszlee Malik. In July, MAH was appointed to the TVET technical sub committee for industry cluster to contribute and assist the government in building TVET capacity for the hospitality industry.
“With the appointment, MAH was invited to present the hospitality industry’s TVET needs and proposal and how the industry can play a major role in training as well as placing youths into jobs within the hospitality industry,” said Yap.
He added: “One of the main formats was to adopt the employee-student model by placing youths into hospitality jobs that provide needed training for the job. At the same time, this will contribute to the government’s effort to reduce unemployment among graduates and youths as well as address human capital shortage in the industry.”
Yap said that MAH is ready to provide industry expertise and exposure through its strong network of hotel members, as part of TVET hospitality training courses, as well as to place trainees into jobs upon completion. It also recognises the need of communication and attitude grooming as crucial components of hospitality industry.
With more than a thousand hotel members in the country, MAH expects stronger demand for skilled workers at all levels of the hotel industry and foresees TVET as the way forward in fulfilling job demands.
However, Yap also urged for a change in the perception of the hospitality industry. “It is not the (commonly) perceived dangerous, dirty or difficult job, but rather a stable long-term career that promotes life-long learning and development. TVET will groom awareness and interest of youths while the industry will ensure they succeed,” he said.
Sam Cheah, advisor & immediate past president of MAH, said that despite technological advancements within the industry, people remain a key asset to success. “Whether it is innovation or technology, we need passionate people in the hospitality industry, and we are ready to train them and keep them updated to current trends and best practices,” he said.