Boost for tourism as MyCenTHE launches its Penang cluster |

Boost for tourism as MyCenTHE launches its Penang cluster

Launching MyCenTHE by officials-Joey, Dr Chong, YB Dato Saifuddin, YB Danny Law, Assc. Prof Dr. Wong, Dr Sharifah Bee Aboo Bakar
PENANG: The Malaysia Centre for Tourism & Hospitality Education (MyCenTHE), an Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) has launched its second cluster in Penang, beefing up efforts to train more skilled personnel for the industry.

Headed by KDU College Penang, the cluster will offer twoand half yearswork-based learning (WBL) diploma programmes that combine solid theoretical grounding with extensive workplace exposure.

The cluster was launched bythe Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah on behalf on the Minister of Higher Education, who said that the launch would go far in meeting the human resource needs of the tourism industry that is expected to grow threefold by 2020.

"Based on current statistics from the Ministryof Tourism, we are looking at 36million tourist arrivals and RM168billion in tourist receipts by 2020," Saifuddin said in a speech that he read on behalf ofMinister of Higher Education,Dato' Seri Mohamed KhaledNordin.

"The forecast is encouraging but it presents a human capital challenge to Malaysia. To meet the targeted growth trajectory, we need to bolster national capacity to generate 50,000 skilled graduates each year by 2020.

"MyCenTHE was established for this very reason and I'm happy to see it taking another significant step in its effort to achieve a national rollout."

Led by Tourism Economist, Assoc. Prof Dr. Wong Kong Yew of UCSI University, MyCenTHE functions as the national centre to design and coordinatehigh quality programmes in tourism and hospitality, ensuring the harmonisation of curriculum delivery nationwide.

The Penang cluster is MyCenTHE's third successful cluster launch – following prior launches in Sarawak and Kuala Lumpur – and further launches will take place in Sabah, Johor and Terengganu.

Designed to give graduates a headstart in the industry, MyCenTHE's two and half years diploma courses involve up to 11 months of industrial training at hotels and resorts run by industrial partners, allowing students to earn and learn at the same time.

Strong industrial support has been obtained thus far and the Eastern & Oriental Hotel signed up as a five-star partner in the Penang cluster.

Saifuddin also praised MyCenTHE for bringing Malaysia's premier hospitality schools together such as INTI University and Colleges, Sabah campus, KDU College, Penang, Sunway University, SunwayLe Cordon Bleu, UCSI University, YTL College of Hotel Management, Taylor's University and SATT Collegeto support the national agenda.

"To enhance accessibility to the programme, all private providers involved with MyCenTHE have agreed to reduce their course fees by 25% to 30%," he said. "Work allowances and loan provision by the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) provide students with up to 80% of the course fee financed".

"This, coupled with the programme's unique offerings, will go far in attracting talented students to the industry."

He added that the pioneer cluster of the program which is based in Sarawak was doing well with over 200 students enrolled.

Launched under the Economic Transformation Programme in 2011, MyCenTHE is an initiative that focuses on the development of academically qualified and industry ready graduates from its tourism and hospitality programmes.