Malaysia's Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) has launched a new programme to retrain retrenched employees, using the unused portion of the monthly levies it collects from employers amounting to about RM 300 million.

This is in line with the 11th National Plan, where the Malaysian government aims to achieve 35% of the workforce comprising skilled workers, and the creation of over 1.5 million jobs by 2020.

The HRDF Pool Fund is expected to now be split, with 70% invested into employer-led training, and the remaining 30% to be ploughed into this new programme.

The new programme includes six core modules:

  1. Outplacement centre - for retrenched workers
  2. Train and replace - aimed at replacement of foreign workers with Malaysians.
  3. Upskilling and reskilling programmes - aimed at SMEs
  4. Programmes for future workers
  5. 1Malaysia globally recognised industry and professional certification (1MalaysiaGRIP) programme
  6. Certification and value added programmes identified by the sectoral training committees (STCs), as well as special fund for industrial association programmes
HRDF chief executive Dato C.M. Vig­naesvaran told Human Resources that the Train and Replace programme and the Outplacement Centre are expected to go live in May this year.

The Outplacement Centre aims to retrain 3,000 workers, while the Train and Replace programme would train 7,000 wor­kers annually, he added. The Outplacement Centre pilot programme will also help 200 retrenched workers to find job placements in their respective sectors.

The Train and Replace pilot programme started on March 28, where employers from the retail, aviation, oil and gas, and hospitality sectors have been selected to replace 115 foreign workers with Malaysians.

Dato Vignaesvaran added: "Sectors such as aviation, retail and IT have already approached HRDF. We have asked these companies for a promise of employment."

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While acknowledging HRDF's efforts, some employers have cited concerns and preferences to manage outplacement or strengthening of the local talent pool independently.

In response, Dato Vignaesvaran explained: "As you are aware, employers paying to HRDF have objected to the programme, claiming that unutilised funds should be returned to them in order for them to decide on their own training needs.

"However, we are hopeful that the employers will realise that that programme would lead to job opportunities for retrenched workers, unemployed graduates and reduce their dependency on foreign expertise especially in sectors such as aviation, hotel and retail."

Since June last year, 30% of the total levy payment by HRDF-registered employers has been placed in the 1MalaysiaGRIP fund. To date, there is RM100 million in the 1MalaysiaGRIP fund, The Star reported.

Effective April 1, any un­­­­uti­­lised portion of the 30% levy collected monthly from registered employers for 1MalaysiaGRIP has been moved to a common pool.

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