Nineteen-year-old Arif Riri Alfiansyah skilfully assembles car components while Komarudin, also 19, installs accessories for the rear doors. They are two of 400 apprentices who are undertaking a six-month apprenticeship programme with PT Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indonesia (PT TMMIN), located in Karawang, West Java, this year.
"After I graduated and before joining the apprenticeship programme, I worked as a construction worker for five months. It was better than being unemployed," says Alfiansyah. Graduating from a vocational school after majoring in mechanics, he immediately went to the Provincial Manpower Office of Karawang. There he learnt about the PT TMMIN's apprenticeship programme.
After passing the selection process, which involved competing with around 300 other applicants, Alfiansyah is now six weeks into the apprenticeship programme. "I now know how to install insulation in car bodies and to fill engines with oil," he said.
Komarudin also succeeded in getting on the programme. Guided by a mentor and instructor, he spent a month learning about car assembly through classroom training modules before doing on-the-job training at the factory.
"At the beginning my working pace was slow," he said. "I could only finish 10 cars per working shift. But now I can do a minimum of 30 cars."
A government and industry collaboration
The International Labour Organization (ILO) is documenting best practices on partnerships and collaborations between vocational education schools and training centres, as part of a joint UN project, "Integrated Solutions Platforms: Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET) – Industry Collaboration". The project aims to promote industry-TVET collaboration to reduce skills mismatches, and to promote cost-sharing of the delivery of TVET between the government and
Michiko Miyamoto, Director of the ILO office in Indonesia, emphasizes the important role of industry in developing apprenticeship programmes. "The industries know best what kinds of skills are needed, and they have the capacity and resources to implement this programme. It is beneficial for all parties involved, as workers get the skills needed, while the industries get trained workers," says Michiko.
Since 2016, the Indonesian government has promoted the industrial apprenticeship programme as a means to improve the working skills of young Indonesians, particularly those graduating from vocational education and training centres.
Through the Ministry of Manpower, it has focused on vocational education and training as one of the steps to support inclusive development and national economic growth.
"The main principle of vocational education is practice. The best place to practice is in industry, where the apprentices can gain real experience in the world of work. It is different from the practical training conducted by vocational training centres," explains Bambang Satrio Lelono, Director General for Placement, Training and Productivity at the Ministry of Manpower.
A new generation of workers
Next year, the number of participants in Toyota's apprenticeship programme will be increased to 700. The apprentices receive uniforms, proper identification, safety equipment, allowances and transportation, as well as health insurance. After six months the apprentices take competency tests and are awarded certificates if they pass.
"We have conducted this vocational programme because it is beneficial to the company. It is also to support the government in developing Indonesia's human resources. Through this programme we can also produce competent workers who in turn will increase the productivity of the company," says Amirul Chusni, Division Head of Learning Centre of PT TMMIN.
One former apprentice, Rama Wijaya, is now being recruited by PT TMMIN's logistics department. "Through the apprenticeship programme we were taught to be good employees, always ready to work," says Wijaya. "Plus, I'm now able to help supporting my family."