ECER Empowers Bentong Community

BENTONG, July 31  — Following the success of its KerJaya ECER programme launched last year, the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) today introduces another human capital development initiative  known as “empower” in Bentong, Pahang in an effort to boost the academic achievement and employability of the locals.

The main objective of “empower” Bentong – ECER Human Capital Development Programme is to increase the household income of Bentong residents via education and entrepreneurship skills training, as well as reduce the poverty level in the area.  The cost for all these training will be borne by ECERDC.

The 10-month project, which commenced in April 2010, involves a pioneer batch of over 1,000 local residents comprising students, the unemployed, school leavers, fresh graduates and single parents who live in Bentong.

Pahang Menteri Besar, Y.A.B. Dato’ Sri Haji Adnan Haji Yaakob, officially launched “empower” Bentong – ECER Human Capital Development Programme here today, with the presence of ECERDC Chief Executive Officer, Dato’ Jebasingam Issace John.

Y.A.B. Dato’ Sri Haji Adnan in his speech said empower” Bentong consists of two different programmes aimed at different target groups namely, Academic Skill Training for primary and secondary school students, as well as Entrepreneurship Skill Training for the unemployed, school leavers, fresh graduates and single parents.

ECERDC has already set its own Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for each programme.  For the Academic Skill Trainingprogramme, the KPI is 90% passes in Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR), as well as 100% passes in Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) and Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) exams. For Entrepreneurship Skill Training, the KPI is 70% self employment and 30% job placement, with a generated additional income ranging from RM600 to RM1,000 per month.

Bentong was chosen as the pioneer location for the “empower” project due to its potential to become an economic offshoot for the Klang Valley, being strategically located only 80km northeast of Kuala Lumpur, Dato’ Sri Haji Adnan said.

In addition, Bentong’s mixed community is a good representation of the 1Malaysia concept, with the Malay, Chinese, Indian and other communities living together in harmony.

“The implementation of “empower” Bentong is based on the 1Malaysia concept, whereby this project will benefit all communities in the area.  This will ensure that no one is left behind in the socioeconomic development of the East Coast Economic Region (ECER),” he noted.

Meanwhile, ECERDC’s Dato’ Issace said the “empower” Bentong project will  act as a pilot project that will be replicated in other areas within ECER.

Dato’ Issace stressed that human capital development plays a key role towards the economic growth in ECER, particularly in enhancing the competitiveness and skills of the local workforce to ensure that they are well-prepared to meet employers’ expectations and industries’ needs.

ECERDC’s human capital development initiatives, such as “empower” and KerJaya ECER, also run parallel with the country’s New Economic Model (NEM) that promotes knowledge, innovation and creativity.

Under “empower” Bentong’s Academic Skill Training programme, ECERDC provides tuition and motivational training to non-performing students in both primary and secondary schools to help them achieve academic success.   The programme currently involves 435 identified students from 12 schools in Bentong, who are sitting for UPSR, PMR and SPM examinations this year.

The Entrepreneurship Skill Training programme provides technical skills to over 600 workers and aspiring entrepreneurs, whereby the courses offered include Front Line Professionalism, 1Malaysia Cooking, Sewing & Fashion Design, Baking, Make-up and Bridal, Mobile Phone Repair, Computer Networking and ICT-related Training in tele-services.

All the learning facilities and courses will be provided in Bentong itself, which means that participants do not need to leave their hometown to obtain all these skills. Best of all, the trainings are also provided for free to the participants.

Non-governmental organization, Pertubuhan Kemajuan Sosial Malaysia (PKSM), has been appointed as the service provider to implement and manage the “empower” Bentong project.

Apart from “empower”, ECERDC’s human capital initiative also includes the KerJaya ECER programme which was launched in 2009.  Aimed at enhancing the human capital development in the Region, KerJaya ECER is a training/retraining and job placement programme for unemployed graduates and retrenched employees who were affected by the global economic crisis.

As of June 2010, KerJaya ECER has attracted over 5,000 participants and 350 companies throughout the ECER states. Of these, a total of 1,500 participants have successfully been employed.