Master craftsman training for "Malaysian Meisters" in mechatronics

ICON-INSTITUTE Consulting Group • Learning modules in Germany and Malaysia

scene in a workshop with a German trainer

Established in 1975, the ICON consulting group and its approximately 90 employees and up to 200 project staff supervise domestic and international vocational training and continuing education projects, amongst other activities. The scope of ICON's bespoke services and training concepts ranges from occupational training courses, over train-the-trainer courses, to the establishment of entire training centres. The important networking partners of ICON in Germany include universities, chambers and prominent industrial enterprises with comprehensive capacities for providing vocational education and training.

About 90 per cent of turnover are generated on an international level. Most commissions are development assistance projects, which ICON carries out on behalf of contracting authorities such as the European Union, the World Bank and other international development banks, regional relief organisations and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.

Malaysia has been interested in technical vocational education and training made in Germany already for a long time. As early as over ten years ago, ICON was active in Malaysia in the technical training provision for skilled personnel and executives and in the introduction of dual system university courses. In November 2012, iMOVE facilitated the visit of a delegation from the Federation of Malaysian Skills Development Centers to ICON in Germany. The semi-governmental organisation maintains 12 training centres as well as close connections with the industry and it had been actively searching for German partners for implementing a continuing education programme.

The talks led to the development of a sliding scale "Malaysian Meister Training Programme" running over a period of 7 months. To begin with, 18 trainers between 30 and 35 years of age from various training centres of the Federation and specialising in the field of mechatronics took part in the pilot programme. They were qualified for in turn providing training for other course instructors and had the chance to collect information about industry-related requirements regarding learning content such as electropneumatics, hydraulics and programmable logic controller (PLC) systems.

scene in a workshop with a German trainer

During a preparatory phase, the German education experts first gathered information regarding the participants' knowledge and performance level by way of written and oral examinations in the context of a fact-finding mission. This was followed by training course modules in Malaysia including immediate participation of the German trainers via Skype. Subsequently, German trainers travelled to Malaysia for teaching training units. They nominated four of the 18 participants to act as so-called "counterparts". These took over the additional roles of assistants and mentors in the context of this project in order to facilitate the exchange between German providers of education and Malaysian course participants. Further training units conveyed by Malaysian teaching staff followed and ultimately a four-day final training took place to prepare the course participants for Germany.

Subsequently, the Malaysian trainers-to-be attended one month of intensive training provided by German trainers at the vocational education and training centre of the Chamber of Crafts Aachen. When not attending training sessions, all participants were lodged at guest houses, where they were able to provide and cook for themselves. Of course, the sojourn provided also opportunities for regular visits to a mosque. The guests used the weekends for short trips to European neighbouring countries.

ICON has been maintaining a close partnership with the Chamber of Crafts Aachen for many decades. The chamber made important contributions to the project on a technical level and for this it was accordingly held in high esteem by the Malaysian partners. The continuing education programme concluded with a final examination and the awarding of two certificates: one issued by ICON and one by the chamber of crafts.

The participants were particularly enthusiastic about the conveyance of theoretical and practical learning content in a "one-stop shop" approach. In its capacity as the contracting authority, the Federation has applied with the Malaysian government for accreditation of the Malaysian Meister, which they plan to adopt as a fixed item into the Malaysian education system. After the successful completion of the pilot programme, further training courses for other fields of application are being planned.


This sucess story was first published in the iMOVE publication Developing Skills for Employability with German Partners • 8 Success Stories from Southeast Asia. The brochure was published in March 2014.

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