Miri – 10 December 2010 – Curtin University, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak), was among 12 private universities that recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Financial Sector Talent Enrichment Programme (FSTEP) managed by Institut Bank-Bank Malaysia (IBBM) in collaboration with Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM).
By being signatories to the MoU, the private universities, along with the public universities, committed to supplying quality graduates to FSTEP for its one-year fast track technical training programme.
The FSTEP programme provides graduates exposure in conventional, Islamic and investment banking, as well as insurance/Takaful. It helps them gain the essential skills needed to effectively practise in their chosen fields, and at the same time, helps the country build a sustainable pool of human capital talent capable of supporting the continued growth of the industry.
Witnessing the signing was Minister of Higher Education Dato’ Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin; Governor of Bank Negara Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Dr. Zeti Akhtar Aziz; and Chairman of IBBM Tan Sri Azman Hashim. Representing Curtin Sarawak was its deputy pro vice-chancellor, Professor Alistair Inglis.
“The Malaysian financial services industry is one of the key enablers and drivers of economic growth under the Economic Transformation Programme,’’ said Dato’ Seri Mohamed Khaled in his speech. He reiterated that the MoU marked another milestone for FSTEP in promoting human capital development and addressing the shortage of skilled talents in the financial services industry.
Dato’ Seri Mohamed Khalid said universities should gradually move away from their traditional image of ivory towers where faculty members are not all that interested to equip graduates with practical skills that will meet the needs of the market. Universities should focus more on addressing the needs of both the society and market place, including the financial services industry.
“The academia-industry collaboration and cooperation should be enhanced via FSTEP. This MoU will pave the way to bridge the gaps between various universities and the financial services industry in achieving the aspirations of the nation” he added.
Tan Sri Azman, meanwhile, said that the MoU allows FSTEP to facilitate the education-to-employment (ESE) platform for Malaysian graduates to pursue careers in the financial services industry.
He added that, in view that both FSTEP and the universities have a lot of commonality in terms of knowledge sharing, the second objective of the MoU spells out the importance of collaboration and cooperation in programme design and delivery of banking and finance subjects for the mutual benefit of the academia and the financial services industry. The MoU also strives to foster closer collaboration between FSTEP and institutions of higher learning in various related educational activities such as talks on banking and finance, consultation and participation in career fairs.
According to Tan Sri Azman, FSTEP is preparing for its Batch 6 intake comprising 100 participants, which is expected to begin on 25 February 2011. He added that all participants of Batch 6 and beyond will be sponsored by the various financial institutions.
Malaysian citizens who are proficient in the English Language, are below 30 years of age, and have obtained a cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 3.25 and above in any degree or higher qualification from any recognised local or foreign university can apply. The application form can be downloaded from FSTEP’s website at www.fstep.org.my.
A total of 683 graduates have completed the FSTEP programme since its inception in 2007. Of the number, 53% are currently working in the financial services industry whilst 46% are pursuing their careers in non-financial institutions.
Lauding the FSTEP programme as an excellent pathway for Curtin Sarawak’s students to enter the financial services industry, Professor Inglis said Curtin Sarawak is continually seeking opportunities to link with the industry and provide its graduates placement opportunities.
“Training programmes such as FSTEP provide valuable stepping stones for our graduates to penetrate the market; in this instance, the robust and challenging financial services market,” he said.
He added that the financial services sector in Malaysia offers vast career opportunities for graduates, given that it has been one of the fastest growing sectors over the past decade. He said its share of the GDP has indeed been impressive with an average of 10.9 percent from 2006 to 2009.
He said that by being a party to the FSTEP programme, Curtin Sarawak will have the opportunity to identify high calibre graduates who can benefit from becoming enrolled in the programme. At the same time, the graduates will have the opportunity to be sponsored and employed by financial institutions.