ECER's Empower Programme Transforms Kemaman's Socio-Economic Progress

Kemaman, 3 November, 2011 – The East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) has expanded its ’empower’ programme, consisting of Academic Skill Training and Entrepreneurship Skill Training, to Kemaman, Terengganu following the success of its pilot project in Bentong, Pahang last year.

The ’empower’ programme’s objective is to boost academic achievement among students as well as the employability and marketability of youths and adults.

Total of 921 local residents within the four state legislative constituencies in Kemaman are expected to benefit from ’empower’. Of the total, 421 participants have been enrolled in Academic Skill Training courses which will help them improve their performances in UPSR, PMR and SPM examinations this year.

The ECERDC’s key performance indicator (KPI) for the Academic Skill Training programme is 100% passes in UPSR, PMR and SPM examinations as well as overall 30% increase in academic achievement for all the students enrolled in the programme.

For the Academic Skill Training courses, the 10 schools participating in this programme are SK Kg Baru Kerteh, SJK(C) Kuala Kemaman, SK Kijal, SK Chukai, SK Ayer Puteh, SK Jabor, SMK Badrul Alam Shah, SMK Chukai, SMK Kijal and SMK Ayer Puteh.

The balance 500 participants are in the Entrepreneurship Skill Training programme. This is a 15-month programme that started in June 2011 focusing on target groups such as the unemployed, working adults, under-employed youths and single mothers residing in Kemaman.

The KPI for the Entrepreneurship Skills Training programme is 80% success rate in job placement in the form of either starting their own business or working as an employee, with an additional income ranging from RM800 to RM1,500 per month.

“For Malaysia to be an innovative and knowledge-based economy, we need a skilled workforce that has adequate knowledge and capability. I am proud that Kemaman has been selected to pioneer this ’empower’ programme in Terengganu,” said Terengganu Menteri Besar YAB Dato’ Seri Haji Ahmad Bin Said at the launch today.

He noted that to ensure participants benefited from their programmes, they were exposed to courses which were determined by the job markets as well as community needs.

“The empower programme provides opportunities to youths and adults to improve their income and marketability through the skills training they acquire, while school children get the tutoring they need to improve their grades and self-esteem,” Dato’ Seri Ahmad pointed out.

The skills courses currently taught at ’empower’ Kemaman include bridal make-up, bakery, fashion and sewing, hair dressing, cooking as well as wiring and plumbing.

The ’empower’ programme has been successfully implemented since its pilot project in Bentong, Pahang in April 2010 which was later extended to Temerloh and Lipis. The programme was also launched in Jeli, Kelantan in July this year.

“The ’empower’ programme has a dual mission. While teaching new skills so that youths and the unemployed can find better jobs, it also meets the human capital needs of businesses,” said ECERDC Chief Executive Officer Dato’ Jebasingam Issace John.

He said the programme among others aimed at improving the academic potential of school children, raising the standards of living of the Kemaman community as well as bridging the income disparities among the local populace.

“Kemaman holds good development potential with the presence of the petroleum industry and is also home to the deepest seaport in Malaysia. The Kemaman district is the second most populated area in Terengganu with a population of about 175,000 or 16% of the state’s total population,” added Dato’ Issace.