An initiative in upskilling the nation gives new hope to skilled workers without certification.

IT is no secret that workers without paper qualification, although highly skilled, are at a disadvantage when it comes to tipping the pay scale.

With the introduction of the Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL) assessment, workers will now able to get certification based on their current skills, knowledge and competency.

This assessment is recognised by the Great Britain College Consortium (GBCC), which consists of the following large governmental institutions: Cornwall College, England; Cardiff and Vale College, Wales; North East Scotland College, Scotland; and South West College, Ireland.

Combined, their course portfolios encompass more than 2,000 courses.

Upon approval, the successful candidate will be awarded a GBCC Level Four Diploma. This diploma gives entry to the foundation degree final year at the GBCC colleges for a related course.

RPEL, an upskilling initiative, is nation-building project endorsed by the Human Resources Ministry.

“It is not something new. Developed nations, like Britain, have this system in place. This is the way forward,” said GBCC advisor Prof Tan Sri Dr Ghauth Jasmon.

He said that the assessment reaches out to the many skilled workers whose occupation would qualify them for a level-four diploma, but they don’t have such qualifications.

“Out of the 14 million workers in Malaysia, only 28% of them are recorded as qualified. This upskilling initiative will help the government achieve its target of 50% skilled workforce by 2020.”

“To reach a developed nation status, you must have a significant portion of your labour force to be educated and upskilled.

“Our country is full of skilled people, but we do not have a system to give them recognition. With this asessment, workers will be more confident in pursuing jobs or career advancements,” said Prof Ghauth who is former Universiti Malaya vice-chancellor.

He said reviewers from the GBCC were impressed with the portfolios of the Malaysian candidates during the external quality audit.

Five hundred candidates have gone through the system and successfully received their GBCC Level Four Diploma.

There are currently 80 assessment centres and 1,500 assessors nationwide who are certified to conduct RPEL assessments. The assessment covers broad occupational areas in business, finance, manufacturing, management, education, tourism, advertising, transportation, insurance and automotive.

A person is eligible to be assessed if he has at least five years of executive or supervisory management experience with a minimum of two subordinates.

He must also be able to produce evidence of competency on the job in order to be granted a formal qualification.

The RPEL initiative is recognised by the Human Resources Ministry through the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF).

Candidates are also eligible to apply for loan from Perbadanan Tabung Pembangunan Kemahiran (PTPK).

The RPEL assessment can be done in English, Bahasa Malaysia and Mandarin.