Centexs Highlights Gold Standard for Technical Training in Sarawak

IVETA was honoured to be invited to partner with the Sarawak Skills Development Centre in holding the World TVET Conference in Kuching Malaysia from 25 to 27 August 2015. At the conclusion of what was an incredibly stimulating and exciting conference, a number of conference delegates including several of us from the IVETA Executive were privileged to have the opportunity to visit and tour the Centre of Technical Excellence Sarawak known as Centexs. The Centexs brand is expressed as ‘setting the gold standard for technical training in Sarawak’. It is a new centre. It was officially launched by the Governor of Sarawak in October 2014 and is spearheading Sarawak’s determination to build the skills needed for Sarawak’s rapidly growing industry base and economy. There are currently six program areas – oil and gas, construction, electrical, port, manufacturing and hospitality and 500 students annually but with a clear plan to expand the occupations covered and extend to new campuses. All the trades are industry-certified and conducted in partnership with industry to ensure that the students graduate with skills that meet industry needs and labour market demands. But all those are just facts. It’s visiting Centexs that makes you feel inspired.  I’ve worked in the Australian vocational education and training system for 16 years and I’m proud of our system but I learned so much from Centexs about engagement with industry for real world skills and how if TVET is seen as high status and high outcome it motivates students and staff to achieve as nothing else can. There is also a focus on entrepreneurship, equipping students with the skills and belief in the value of establishing a small business which can grow and prosper, an integrated approach we could learn from in Australia where so much of our economy is powered by small business. We were privileged to meet with the CEO and his management team, and teachers and students in the electrical, tailoring (part of the manufacturing program), welding and hospitality programs. Without fail we met teachers with long and current industry and business management experience and students excited about their studies and the prospects of success ahead. I was also personally impressed by the inclusion in the programs of ‘mental fitness training’, a concept I understand to be about building resilience and the capability to effectively manage the ups and downs of today’s world of life and work. Attendance at international conferences is always inspiring. They offer intellectual stimulation, new ways of thinking and new friendships that span the globe.  But in addition, for me, it’s always the stories of students and the outcomes they achieve that really lift me and stay with me.  I thank the staff and students of Centexs for sharing their stories and offering me the chance to learn from them. If you want to learn more http://cte-sarawak.my/about.php – by Margo Couldrey, IVETA General Secretary
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