Steven Sim Chee Keong, Minister of Human Resources (KESUMA), emphasised the importance of fostering internship-friendly work environments, especially in SMEs.

Talent Corporation Malaysia Berhad, mandated by KESUMA (Ministry of Human Resource) to drive Malaysia’s talent strategy, has launched the Industrial Training Matching Grant Initiative for Small & Medium Enterprises (LiKES) in support of structured and sustainable internship placement in Malaysian SMEs and start-ups.

This initiative is part of the overarching ecosystem of the KESUMA Practical Training Incentive (ILHAM) which includes four main components; Structured Industry Training Policy, LiKES Matching Grant, ITS HRD Corp Levy Programme, as well as support programmes such as MyNext by TalentCorp and others.

In his announcement of the RM30 million TalentCorp allocation for LiKES, Steven Sim Chee Keong, Minister of Human Resources (KESUMA), emphasised the importance of fostering internship-friendly work environments, especially in SMEs.

The Minister stated, “For the first time, the Government has introduced an internship matching grant to support our SMEs and start-ups. Now more employers can take part in a collective nation-building effort to nurture our young talents. LiKES, together with the existing National Structured Internship Programme (MySIP) will help to provide work readiness and welfare by offering allowances during the training period.”

“This will help level the internship playing field for SMEs who constitute 97% of total businesses in Malaysia, and contributed 48.2% to the country’s employment in 2022,” he said.

In addition, Steven Sim announced enhancements to the Industrial Training Scheme (ITS) under Human Resource Development Corporation (HRD Corp) as part of a KESUMA holistic internship package tailored for employers.

Effective immediately, employers can utilise up to 50% of their levy balance as of January 2024 towards ITS for the year. The ceiling limit for monthly internship allowances claimable for each intern under the ITS scheme has also been removed.

The Minister also said that ongoing engagement sessions are also being conducted to develop the National Industrial Training Policy which will serve as the guideline for employers in hiring interns which is expected to be launched in May 2024.

“As KESUMA’s strategic think tank, TalentCorp engages with industry and academia to develop guidelines for employers to prioritise interns’ skill enhancement and welfare. These efforts will be reflected in the upcoming National HR Policy, enabling employers to responsibly manage their internship programmes,” he said.

The LiKES matching grant covers internship periods of up to six months and is open for application by SMEs and start-ups registered with the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM).

Eligible applicants must offer internship placements lasting a minimum of 10 weeks and provide a stipulated minimum internship allowance.

For interns pursuing Malaysian Skills Certificate (SKM) Level 1 to Level 3, Diploma, Malaysian Skills Diploma (DKM), the minimum allowance required is RM500.00 a month, where TalentCorp will reimburse RM250.00 a month.

For interns pursuing Malaysian Advanced Skills Diploma (DLKM), Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree, or Professional Certificate, the minimum allowance required is RM600.00 a month, and TalentCorp will reimburse RM300.00 a month.

Thomas Mathew, Group CEO of TalentCorp, said that a key aspect to strengthening the channelling of talent demand and supply lies in the implementation of structured internships.

“Structured internships serve as one of the key strategies to develop quality talent, reduce youth unemployment, address skills mismatch and underemployment, and improve talent skillsets to meet both current and future industry needs,” he said.

He encouraged SMEs and start-ups, especially those operating outside of cities, to apply for LiKES and provide meaningful internship opportunities to the up-and-coming workforce.

“More importantly, we seek to strategically facilitate the transition of talent from educational institutions to the workplace while also providing financial support to SMEs, enabling them to proactively participate in nurturing local talent,” he added.


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