KUALA LUMPUR: There are equal opportunities for both women and men in the field of technical and vocational education training (TVET) and jobs, said Technical and Vocational Education Association of Malaysia President Dr Mohd Zolkifli Abd Hamid.
Although the technical and vocational fields were dominated by men due to the demanding and strenuous nature of most of the jobs, the scope was wider than one would expect it to be, he said.
“The education system is not biased, and the TVET field focuses on hands-on learning to prepare trainees for the job market.
“As long as it’s not too physically challenging, women are free to pursue technical and vocational training to either embark on a career or to sharpen their skills and become more competent in their current work,” he told Bernama.
Mohd Zolkifli, who is a senior lecturer at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia’s (UTM) Department of Technical and Engineering Studies in Skudai, Johor said both private and public training institutes offered various TVET courses that were suitable for women.
The courses include cosmetology (make-up and beauty treatments), gerontology (care of the elderly and people with special needs), as well as baking and making of confectioneries like cakes and pastries.
“Certain entrepreneurial-oriented fields like food preparation and catering, as well as fashion designing and tailoring are monopolised by women. It’s through TVET that the workforce for these fields is created, thus there’s no discrimination against women,” he said.
He said public and private vocational and skills-training institutes that offer baccalaureate programmes allow their students to enter the job market immediately upon graduation.
“This will help to increase productivity and spur the nation’s economic growth,” he added.
Meanwhile, head of UTM’s TVET Research Group Asso Prof Dr Yahya Buntat said while gender imbalance was evident in the technical and vocational fields, it did not mean that women were disinterested in these jobs or were being denied opportunities.
He said the sector was dominated by men because many of its openings were in oil rigs and in the construction industry, which required physical strength and endurance.
“It’s not that they (women) are not interested but some of the jobs are just not suitable for them. But the truth is, the TVET sector has many opportunities for women. Take, for instance, engineering and information and communications technology fields, which have a high number of female workers.
“Career prospects in the technical and vocational fields are vast but not many people seem to know about it, maybe because not much is being done to promote TVET,” he added.