Miri – 5 April, 2012 – Assistant Minister of Sports and Assistant Minister of Communication Datuk Lee Kim Shin recently commended Curtin University, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak) for developing student leaders through its John Curtin Leadership Academy (JCLA).
Speaking at the JCLA’s Poster Presentation at the Miri Marriott Resort & Spa, Datuk Lee, who is also the chairman of Curtin Sarawak’s Management Board, applauded Curtin Sarawak for its initiative towards grooming future leaders with a focus on community service.
He said that, with the JCLA, Curtin Sarawak is addressing the need to prepare its graduates for the challenges and opportunities presented in today’s ever-changing work environment. Increasing competition for employment and a challenging economy are all driving factors for graduates to emerge from universities with more than just degrees.
“The JCLA is an outstanding leadership programme that gives students the necessary skills and abilities to be at the leading edge in the job market. It prepares them with an excellent understanding of the workplace, encourages entrepreneurial spirit, and puts into practice the skills learnt. Employers will definitely favour graduates who have not only excelled in their disciplines, but have the confidence and network to be immediately effective and productive,” said Datuk Lee.
Curtin Sarawak’s Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alistair Inglis, also praised the JCLA for developing outstanding and committed student leaders who have done Curtin Sarawak proud with their entrepreneurial spirit and community service.“Leadership isn’t primarily concerned with performing the functions of a formal leadership position; it is about displaying the attributes of leadership in whatever role one is performing, whether that be related to one’s career or within the community,” Professor Inglis said.
“It was once believed that people were born to be leaders, but we now know that almost anyone has the capacity to become a leader given the motivation and the opportunity to acquire the necessary leadership capabilities. Inculcating leadership capabilities is what the JCLA is all about. It takes outstanding students who show the greatest promise of becoming future leaders and develops them further,” he added.
At the poster presentation, eight JCLA student ambassadors showcased their respective ‘Advanced Projects’ by exhibiting posters and fielding questions from the attendees comprising management staff and senior academics of Curtin Sarawak and representatives of its industry partners. In addition, they gave a presentation on their group project involving the harvesting of rainwater in the rural community of Rumah Bada in Suai.
The students’ projects involve publishing a motivational guide for youths; creating a new cottage industry producing eco-friendly paper cups from tapioca flour; educating people about the use of a naturally occurring enzyme as a multi-purpose disinfectant; running activities designed to motivate academically weak students to excel in their studies; visiting a rural community in Cambodia and using it as a case study for an awareness campaign on rural poverty in that country; providing the residents of the immediate neighbourhood of Senadin with a system for disposing recyclable items; organising a camp to promote water safety to primary school pupils; and organising a parenting skills seminar for parents in Miri.
Previous batches of JCLA ambassadors have carried out projects dealing with caring for the elderly, palliative care, women’s welfare, mental illness, and supporting rural communities in Sarawak. One of the more notable group projects was a RM20,000 Solar Panel Project completed in 2010 to provide the remote community of Long Makabar about 200 kilometres from Miri with a renewable energy source.
The JCLA programme is a prestigious year-long leadership programme developed by Curtin University in honour of John Curtin, fourteenth Prime Minister of Australia, to groom and grow young leaders beyond the classroom. It seeks to instil in student leaders Curtin’s three core values, that is, Vision, Leadership and Community Service, and produce leaders who can help ensure the sustainability of campus clubs and societies, and improve campus life for students. It also gives them the opportunity to get a head start in their careers.
The programme consists of workshops, seminars and two semester-long projects. The Foundation Project teaches fund-raising, relationship-building and networking skills, while the Advanced Project focuses on developing students’ work ethic and business acumen, along with other skills such as project and conflict management, presentation and communication skills, as well as entrepreneurship.
More information on Curtin Sarawak can be obtained from its website at www.curtin.edu.my, or by calling +60 85 443 939, or sending e-mail to [email protected]. It can also be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CurtinUniversitySarawakMalaysia.