Source: Penang Monthly

Since its inception in 1989, Penang Skills Development Centre (PSDC) has been at the forefront of workforce transformation in Penang, forging close links with the private sector and academia. To date, PSDC counts over 230 companies among its members and over 225,000 graduates.

Students at PSDC, therefore, benefit from the institute’s various affiliations, with both multinationals (MNCs) and local large companies (LLCs). These extensive linkages, established from decades of building a technically-competent talent pool, have immensely contributed to the high employability rate of PSDC’s graduates.

According to the graduate tracer study done by the Ministry of Higher Education (KPT) in 2021, 41% of PSDC’s graduates successfully secured employment, out of which 6% were also pursuing tertiary studies simultaneously with their employment. The remaining 59% of PSDC’s graduates went on to further their studies full-time.

PSDC was originally focused on upskilling the existing industrial workforce, but over the years, the institute strode towards building technical competencies among school-going youths. This is where PSDC’s School Leavers Programme comes in.

Under this programme, PSDC offers two main pathways designed to expose students to the intricacies of engineering and manufacturing technology. Both full-time and mixed courses are available for SPM, STPM, SPMV and UEC takers who have passed stipulated minimum requirements. PSDC’s curriculum is also curated by a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) comprising some of the institute’s member companies, such as Motorola, Inari, Sophic, Prodelcon and LBSB.

Those who are more practically inclined may opt for the Skills Certificate and Skills Diploma in Applied Engineering. Hands-on training makes up a whopping 70% of the curriculum, with theoretical classes forming the remaining 30%. Certified by the Department of Skills Development (JPK) under the auspices of the Ministry of Human Resources, this train-and-place programme comprises a variety of specialisations such as industrial automation, quality assurance, precision machining and manufacturing technology. Diploma graduates then have the option to further their studies in one of the Malaysian Meister Programmes, which are modelled after the famed German vocational training system.

Another more conventional choice is PSDC’s School of Engineering, which offers full-time courses from certificate to degree levels. Students can choose to specialise in either computer, electronics or mechatronics engineering. The degree courses, in particular, are designed in collaboration with Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UNIMAP), which also includes industrial training as an essential component for undergraduates. As a testament to PSDC’s standards, all courses are certified by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA).

The institute’s emphasis on vocational skills and applied engineering, on top of the more than RM80mil worth of investments in world-class facilities and equipment, has seen PSDC’s certifications being highly sought by the various manufacturers in Penang. As a mark of confidence in PSDC’s capabilities, several member companies have also offered scholarships and financial assistance for students and existing employees undertaking courses at PSDC.

To find out more about PSDC’s School Leavers Programme, you can contact the following teams at PSDC (+604 643 7909):

–   Applied Engineering Team at extensions 550, 551, 529 and 576, or email to
– School of Engineering at extensions 515, 539, 594 and 548, or email to

*This is an edited article originally retrieved from Penang Monthly (June 2022 issue)