Higher Education

, Volume 63, Issue 2, pp 187–204 | Cite as

Enhancing employability through industrial training in the Malaysian context

  • Stefanie Pillai
  • Mahmud H. Khan
  • Ida Syahirah Ibrahim
  • Sharmane Raphael


This study discusses the industrial training programme at the University of Malaya in Malaysia, specifically the issues that need to be addressed in order to enhance the employability skills of graduates. Findings from the feedback obtained from trainees and organizations in the 2008/2009 academic session were examined in terms of the extent to which trainees felt they were prepared for their training, and the extent to which the tasks given to them during their training were appropriate. Further, trainees’ self-rating of particular skills and industry’s rating of the trainees were also examined. The feedback is discussed in the context of the need to equip graduates with employability skills, an issue facing Higher Education Providers worldwide. The findings indicate that most of the students were prepared to face the world of work. However, there were several issues which needed attention. These included the need to address the possible mismatch between the tasks assigned to trainees and their areas of study, and the need to enhance English language competency and particular soft skills throughout their degree programme. Continuous input from industry is also necessary to ensure that the training benefits all parties and contributes to the employability skills of trainees.


Industrial training On-the-job training Employability Higher education providers University of Malaya Malaysia 



The study reported in this paper was supported by a short term research grant awarded by the University of Malaya in 2008 (FS107/2008B).


  1. Bardan, S. (2009). Governance and government: Employer’s perspective of graduates employability. Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) held on 21–22 July 2009 on employability: Issues, concerns and the way forward. http://alumni.upm.edu.my/…/papers/003_Tn_Hj_Samsudin_Bardan.pdf. Accessed 18 December 2009.
  2. Casey, J. R., & James, J. (2004). Developing harmonious University-Industry partnerships. University of Dayton Law Review, 30(2), 245–263.Google Scholar
  3. CBI (2009). Future fit: Preparing graduates for the world of work http://highereducation.cbi.org.uk/uploaded/HRE_091_Future%20Fit%20AW.pdf. Accessed 31 December 2010.
  4. Commonwealth of Australia (2002). Employability skills for the future. http://dest.gov.au/ty/…/employability_skills/final_report.pdf. Accessed 18 December 2009.
  5. Crossman, J. E., & Clarke, M. (2010). International experience and graduate employability: Stakeholder perceptions on the connection. Higher Education, 59, 599–613.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. De la Harpe, B., Radloff, A., & Wyber, J. (2000). Quality and generic (professional) skills. Quality in Higher Education, 6(3), 231–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dodge, R. B., & McKeough, M. (2003). Internship and the Nova Scotia government experience. Education and Training, 45(1), 45–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. George, D., & Mallery, P. (2003). SPSS for windows step by step: A simple guide and reference. 11.0 update (4th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
  9. Harvey, L. (2001). Defining and measuring employability. Quality in Higher Education, 7(2), 97–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hii, C. (2007). Need to resolve mismatch in the job market. The Star Online. http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=2007/11/11/nation/19444550&sec=nation. Accessed 4 February 2009.
  11. Industrial Training Preparatory Programme Evaluation (2009). Unpublished report. Centre for Industrial Training and Relations, University of Malaya.Google Scholar
  12. Jackson, N. (1999). Modelling change in a national HE system using the concept of unification. Journal of Education Policy, 14(4), 411–434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kaiser, H. F. (1974). Index of factorial simplicity. Psychometrika 39, 31–36.Google Scholar
  14. Knight, P., & Yorke, M. (2003). Employability and good learning in higher education. Teaching in Higher Education, 8(1), 3–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lam, T., & Ching, L. (2006). An Exploratory study of an internship program: The case of Hong Kong students. Hospitality Management, 26, 336–351.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Maher, A. (2004) Oven-ready and self-basting? Taking stock of employability skills. LINK 11, pp. 7–9. http://www.hlst.ltsn.ac.uk/resources/publications.hltm. Accessed 17 February 2010.
  17. Malaysia and the Knowledge Economy (2007). Building a world-class higher education system EPU and the World Bank. http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTMALAYSIA/Resources/Malaysia-Knowledge-Economy2007.pdf. Accessed 18 December 2009.
  18. Malhi, R. S., & Wahab, A. B. (2008). Your dream job: How to get it and excel. KL TQM Consultants Sdn Bhd.Google Scholar
  19. Many graduates ‘lack soft skills’ (2007). BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/6311161.stm. Accessed 6 January 2009.
  20. National Economic Advisory Council (2010). New economic model for Malaysia part 1: Strategic policy directions http://www.epu.gov.my/html/themes/epu/images/common/pdf/eco_stat/pdf/nem.pdf. Accessed 31 December 2010.
  21. Pillai, S., & Yusoff, M. (2007). The student industrial training programme: Issues and challenges. Proceedings of 15th World Conference on Cooperative Education (WACE2007). Singapore.Google Scholar
  22. Pillay, H. (1995). Fragments of a vision: A case study of the implementation of an English language curriculum programme in five Malaysian secondary schools. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of East Anglia.Google Scholar
  23. Quek, A. (2005). Learning of a workplace: A case study in graduate employees’ generic competencies. Journal of Workplace Learning, 17(4), 231–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Report on Feedback from Industrial Trainees 2006/2007. Unpublished report. Centre for Industrial Training and Relations, University of Malaya.Google Scholar
  25. Report on Feedback from Industrial Trainees 2007/2008. Unpublished report. Centre for Industrial Training and Relations, University of Malaya.Google Scholar
  26. Report on Feedback from Industry 2006/2007. Unpublished report. Centre for Industrial Training and Relations, University of Malaya.Google Scholar
  27. Report on Feedback from Industry 2007/2008. Unpublished report. Centre for Industrial Training and Relations, University of Malaya.Google Scholar
  28. Ryan, G., Toohey, S., & Hughes, C. (1996). The purpose, value and structure of the practicum in higher education: A literature review. Higher Education, 31(3), 355–377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Subra: Graduates lack dynamism and edge (2009). The Star Online. http://thestar.com,my/news/stoy.as?file=/2009/2/16/nation/3275865&sed=nation. Accessed 17 February 2009.
  30. Survey of managers on reasons why they did not hire some fresh graduates. Survey by Jobstreet.com. http://pesona.mmu.edu.my/~ytbau/tes3211/job_survey_2005.pdf, Accessed 7 December 2009.
  31. Teoh, L. E. (2005, May 3) Producing employable graduates. Sun2Surf. http://www.sun2surf.com/article.cfm?id=8840. Accessed 24 November 2008.
  32. The Requirement of the World of Work (1998). World conference on higher education held on 5–9 October 1998, UNESCO, Paris. http://www.unesco.org/education/educprog/wche/principal/worldofwork.html.
  33. The right qualification not enough, grads told (2006). The Star Online. http://thestar.com.my/services/printerfriendly.asp?. Accessed 18 December 2009.
  34. Tyson, S., & Mennie, P. (2008, October). Global market outlook. Global Intelligence. http://www.mfcglobal.com/pdf/global_intelligence_q4_08.pdf. Accessed 4 January 2009.
  35. Valo, M. (2000). Experiencing work as a communications professional: Students’ reflections on their off-campus work practice. Higher Education, 39, 151–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. West, A., Noden, P., & Gosling, R. (2000). Quality in higher education: An international perspective: The views of transnational corporations. Clare Market Papers No. 17. London: Education Research Group, LSE.Google Scholar
  37. Yorke, M. (2006). Employability in higher education: What it is—what it is not. Learning and Employability Series 1. York: Higher Education Academy.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefanie Pillai
    • 1
  • Mahmud H. Khan
    • 1
  • Ida Syahirah Ibrahim
    • 1
  • Sharmane Raphael
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MalayaKuala LumpurMalaysia

Personalised recommendations