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Haji Wan Seman bin Wan Ahmad

Department Of Skills Development




The phenomena of globalisation, driven largely by information and

communication technology, have changed the international economy.
Human resource capital has become the most important foundation
for generating growth and national development and likewise, it
represents the most valuable asset to ensure that Malaysia can
increase its competitiveness at the global level.

The global changes in technology, have necessitated the Malaysian

labour force to continuously upgrade its skill and knowledge in order
to compete more effectively in today’s highly-competitive market.
Given Malaysia’s rapid growth, the country needs knowledge-worker
(k-worker) to develop a knowledge-based economy (k-economy). In
this era, human resource development formed the basis of a
successful nation. It has been proven that a country develops and
progresses if it has a knowledgeable and highly-skilled workforce. As
a result, the government had taken a vital step towards producing
such workforce when it decided to implement the National Dual
Training System (NDTS). This approach requires commitment from
all parties, especially the industrial sector, to ensure its success. It is
expected to bring benefits to industry and apprentices alike. It can
meet the industrial demand for manpower, while exposing trainees to
the real working world. Hence, this initiative will be catalyst for
Malaysia’s economic growth, as well as indirectly enhancing a better
standard of living amongst the skilled workers.

Malaysia is gearing up all its resources especially its human resources in order to
achieve a developed nation status in the year 2020. Global changes in
technology, particularly in the nation’s industries, have created a dire need for a
new generation of skilled workforce and a more comprehensive training system.
A developed nation with knowledge-based economy requires a competent
workforce, besides the availability of technology and capital. The development of
human resources or human capital at all levels – operative, technician and
managerial is critical for a successful knowledge economy. The workforce needs
to be continuously equipped with knowledge and skills to increase Malaysia’s
competitiveness in the global market.

Thus, on 19 May 2004 the government decided to implement the National

Dual Training System (NDTS) starting from 2005 in order to produce 31,500
skilled workers by 2010. The Government has made an agency of the Ministry of
Human Resources, the Department of Skills Development, DSD (previously the
National Vocational Training Council, NVTC), responsible for the introduction and
implementation of the system.

This initiative is expected to stimulate the production of k-workers to meet

the national needs. NDTS is introduced to produce k-workers under a
comprehensive and latest training system, to meet the industries prevailing
requirements. NDTS will resolve the issue of skilled workers being produced but
not meeting the needs of the industries. This training system will also expose
apprentices to the actual situation in the industries.


A holistic technical education and vocational training (TEVT) programme to train
k-worker should encompass not only technical competences but also human and
social competences as well as learning and methodology competences. The
ability of the workforce to work as a team, to undertake self-monitoring and to
shoulder common responsibilities are becoming more and more important. In
order words, the workers have to become “K-workers”, rather than just skilled
workers. The training focus required in developing K-worker occupational
competence is shown in Figure 1. The final justification has to do with the
steadily increasing responsibility of workers within the production process as well
as somehow also with humanity. The human being at the worker level who is
only reactive to the new demands would be at the mercy of all the forces within
the process of changes.

Human and Social

Technical Competence K-Worker Competence
Comprises knowledge Competence Comprises:
and skills regarding: personality development,
work techniques, willingness for lifelong social integration when
tools, learning working in teams
materials able to work in networks the ability to assess one’s
fault analysis and teams work process and take
quality assurance able to anticipate future ecological and safety
conformity to norms and needs at the workplace consideration into account,
regulations, etc etc

Learning and Methodology Competence

Is linked with the other competencies regarding:

responsibility for further training (lifelong learning),
ability to learn independently and in a team,
ability to solve problems,
planning, executing and monitoring activities by applying various technique

Figure 1: Training Should Focus on Occupational Competences


The NDTS is a training concept which involves training at two locations that is
70-80 percent of the training at the industries and remaining 20-30 percent at the
training institutes. The types of training programme under the NDTS will be
determined by the industries concerned in collaboration with the training
institutes. There are two modes of programme delivery to choose from, either
day-release or block-release, whichever is convenient to the industries.

In the day-release mode, trainees are trained at the industry about 4–5
days a week and the remaining 1-2 days at the training institutes. In the block
release mode, trainees undergo training for about 4-5 months in the industries
and about 1 -2 months at the training institutes. Nevertheless, both the industry
and training institute are allowed to make any adjustment as per required.

Training will be conducted through several approaches:

i. Hands-on and knowledge training to be conducted by a coach at

the industry, whereas at the institute, an instructor will conduct the
training programmes to be undertaken by the public or private
sector, or the industry itself.

ii. Training programmes may also be conducted by industries at their

premises together with the trainers from any approved institutes.


The National Occupational Core Curriculum (NOCC) is the foundation for the
NDTS implementation of training and assessment, in both the industry and
training institutes. NOCC is defined “as the documented training structure to be
carried out by the industry and the training comprising of the practical and theory
of the changing technologies, to produce k-workers”. It is developed by the
relevant industry for specific training occupations, in which experts and
practitioners identify the training subjects to be included for the training at the
industry and training institute. The applications of the NOCC encompass the
teaching and coaching processes, as the basis to prepare teaching materials and
other needs; as a standard for achievement and skills quality of the apprentices
under NDTS; and as reference for preparation of learn and work assignments

The LWA is developed by trainers from the industries and training

institutes on the basis of self-reliant learning and on-the-job training. The training
approach is student-centered while the trainers from the industries and training
institutes act as moderators, coaches, facilitators and advisors. Figure 2 shows
the steps of learning and working as a cycle, going through successive learning
and working phases. Various aspects of the self-learning approach are applied
dependent upon the complexity of the lessons or work assignments, and they
cover the following steps or activities :

 Goal setting – apprentices must achieve the goal or objective

(according to the assignment) they had set for themselves.

 Planning methods of actions – the apprentices plan the work steps

either individually or as a group. They work on several variations for
the plan. The coach gives hints and makes them aware of information

 Decision-making based on the plans and use of resources – the

apprentices, together with the coach or team-mates, will decide on
whether to continue with the agreed plans or not. The coach will points
out the mistakes and recommends the correction.
 Execution and observation – the apprentices will execute their plans
and observe the developments and results. The coach will only step in
if the situation is unsafe.

 Appraisal of the action and results – the apprentices will grade and
analyse the processes and methods to complete the task and record
based on the assessment form provided by the coach. The coach will
verify the assessment. The apprentices will also be ready to present
the results obtained by the LWA.

The Cycle of Self- Reliant Learning and Working

Information Information
Goals collecting

5 Planning
Evaluation The pathway for
The action and its the action

Information collecting
collecting 4
Executing 3
Decision Making
The action process and Regarding utilization of
Monitoring it

Figure 2: Cycle of Self-Reliant Learning and Working

The skill courses identified for the implementation of NDTS in 2005 were
Tool Making (Mould & Die) for production technology, Process Automation for
industrial electronics, Automotive Mechatronics and Plant Operation
(Petrochemical). There are seven training occupations which are currently being
developed namely Automotive Manufacturing for Vehicle Assembly, Printing,
Toolmaking (for large category), Steel Fabrication, Bioinformatics Technology,
Transportation (for shipping technology) and Distributive Trade Service (Retail
Executive). The number of skills courses under the NDTS will be increased
annually to meet industry requirements and the 780 National Occupational Skills
Standard (NOSS) will also be used as basis for other training occupations for the
implementation of the NDTS.


The main parties that are involved in implementing the NDTS are the government
and public agencies especially the Department of Skills Development (DSD),
companies and employers, as well as training institutes. The government is to
provide training funds to selected training institutions, while the
companies/employers sponsor the apprentices and provide in-house training
according to prescribed conditions and standards. The DSD being the main
implementing agency, is responsible for coordinating and providing the
mechanism to implement and assure the quality of training. The key parties
involved in the implementation of NDTS and their respective functions are as
shown in Figure 3.


Training Company/
Institute Employer
Train the technical
Coordinates and Train apprentices Coordinates the
such as uses of
managed apprentices on the actual apprentices and
machines and hand
and teachers. technical coaches in the
aspects/work in relevant industries.
the industry.
Ensures that all
Train non technical
training at the Ensures that all
subject such as
institutes meet training in the
prevailing training industries meet the
institutes requirements prevailing needs of
the industries

Figure 3: Parties and Persons Involved in NDTS


Apprentices are selected by the company based on their performance during

interview and aptitude or dexterity testing, as well as medical examination.
Eligible candidates include Malaysian citizens aged between 17 and 25 years
old, or existing workers of participating companies. The candidates should
preferably possess a Malaysian Certificate of Education (SPM) with passes in
Bahasa Malaysia, English and Mathematics.

Every apprentice is required to sign an apprenticeship contract with the

sponsor company. The purpose of the apprenticeship contract is to legally bind
the apprentices to the companies according to the terms and conditions agreed
by both parties. There are two types of apprenticeship contracts, as outlined

(i) NDTS apprenticeship contract under the Employment Act 1955 –

involving the parties of companies, apprentices and their guarantors.

Its main features are:

(a) Apprentices are covered under PERKESO Class One Work Disaster
and Disability protection scheme;
(b) Apprentices are entitled to KWSP contributions;
(c) Apprentices are covered under the Occupational Safety and Health Act
(d) Apprentices are entitled to weekly rest days, public holidays, annual
and medical leaves;
(e) Apprentices are not bonded to work for the sponsor companies after
completion of the NDTS training; and
(f) Employers qualify for tax incentives under the Income Tax Act 1967.

(ii) NDTS apprenticeship contract under the Pembangunan Sumber

Manusia Berhad (PSMB) Act 2001 (Act 612) – involving the parties of
employers (companies qualified under the PSMB Act 2001, apprentices,
guarantors and the PSMB.

Its main features are:-

(a) Apprentices are assured of employment after the NDTS training;

(b) Employers qualify to claim for reimbursement of the training costs
under the Human Resource Development Fund;
(c) Apprentices are entitled to insurance protection by the employers; and
(d) Apprentices are covered under the Occupational Safety and Health
Act. 1994.


The companies which participate in the NDTS ultimately enjoy savings in the
costs of training, assessment, recruitment and selection of skilled workers. In
addition, several financial incentives are provided by the government, namely tax
deductions under the Income Tax Act 1976 or training grants from the Human
Resource Development Fund (HRDF) for eligible companies. The companies
stand to gain from the increased quality and productivity of the workers trained
under the NDTS programmes, thus enhancing their competitiveness. The NDTS
is capable of providing relevant skilled workers since the apprentices are
exposed to the latest technologies and the actual work processes involved in the
industry during their training. Companies will also develop their human resources
capital because the training involves inculcating positive work attitudes and
performance, improves workers’ satisfaction, enhances company/employer’s
image as a producer of k-workers, fulfills it's corporate social responsibilities to
the nation, provides additional mechanism for worker’s promotion and skills
development as well as exposes skilled workers to new knowledge and coaching

The apprentices will also benefit immensely from the NDTS programmes.
The participating companies or employers provide to the apprentices monthly
allowances - from a minimum of RM350 for first semester, to RM400 in the
second semester, RM450 in the third semester and RM500 in the final semester.
The apprentices will be awarded the NDTS K-Worker Certificate (which is
equivalent to the Malaysian Skills Certificate at level 3) upon successful
completion of the two years programme. The apprentices also have the
opportunity to develop their career path as shown in Figure 4.

Thus, the overall advantages of implementing the NDTS may be

summarized to include minimizing the mismatch issue in term of quality and
quantity of skilled workers, closing the technological gap between industry and
institution, minimizing the dependence on foreign worker, and also transferring
technology to skilled workers and training institutions, as well as the industrial
society at large.

Qualify for Malaysian Skills Diploma

Coach/trainer in training institutes


Employment in the industry

Promotion prospects

K-Worker Certificate (Malaysian Skills Certificate level 3)

Attend the NDTS training programme

School leavers or existing employees

Figure 4: Career Development for NDTS Apprentices


Up to June 2007, the participation of companies in the implementation of the

NDTS has not been encouraging. A total of 31 companies are currently
sponsoring 929 apprentices, namely Daimler Chrysler (M) Sdn. Bhd., Naza
Automotive Manufacturing Sdn. Bhd., Tractors Malaysia Sdn. Bhd., Majuikan,
HICOM Engineering Sdn. Bhd., Panasonic HA Air Conditioning (M) Sdn. Bhd.,
Chelos Sdn. Bhd., UEM Group Berhad (with 18 vendor companies), Elektrisola
(M) Sdn. Bhd. and etc.

The main inhibiting factors limiting the implementation of the NDTS

include the poor participation of small and medium-sized enterprises; the limited
numbers of NOCC which have been developed; and the limited numbers of
training institutions to cover the various training occupations.
In order to expand the implementation of the NDTS, four different training
packages have been developed and their main features are highlighted as

Package A

 Two years training program conducted alternately at companies and

training institutions.

 Training quality benchmarked against NOSS or NOCC whichever is


 Leaving qualification for successful apprentices is the Malaysian Skills


 Apprentices selected by companies - either fresh school-leavers or

their own existing employees.

Package B

 Existing in-house training conducted by companies.

 Companies establish partnership with Accredited Centre approved by

the Department of Skills Development.

 Quality of training benchmarked against NOCC or NOSS

 Leaving qualification for successful apprentices is the Malaysian Skills


 Apprentices selected by companies - either fresh school-leavers or

their own existing employees.

Package C

 Accredited Center approved by the Department of Skills Development

develops and manage the NDTS training programme.
 Accredited Center will send apprentices to participating companies for
structured on-the-job training programme.

 Accredited Center is responsible for monitoring the progress of


 Apprentices (mainly school leavers) are assigned to Accredited Center.

Package D

 Training programme which is not accredited by the Department of

Skills Development, is established between Accredited Center and the
participating industries, and registered as NDTS programme.

 Apprentices selected from amongst workers at participating companies

or from candidates in NDTS database.


New Straits Times, Sunday November 20, 2005

Hans-Dieter Hoepfner and Hermann Koch, Self-Reliant Learning in Technical
and Vocational Training (TVET), BOBB Berlin, Germany, May 2003
Waldemar Bauer & Karin Przygodda, New Learning Concepts within the
Germany System of Vocational Education and Training, European
Educational Research Journal, Volume 2, Number 1, Germany, 2003
National Vocational Training Council, Ministry Of Human Resources, Guide of
Implementation National Dual Training System, May 2005