MANY local organisations are presently on the lookout for employees who are equipped with various soft skills, and this is because the working world and industries have changed and wish to adapt to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).

Thus, to meet the demands of the 4IR, it has become imperative for fresh university graduates to develop such skills to find employment.

To develop future-proof graduates who are able to meet the needs of various industries, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) is striving to help students acquire the necessary skill sets that are required by the industries in the 21st century, such as multitasking, leadership, problem solving, teamwork and critical thinking skills.

UTAR states that it creates future-proof graduates through the many courses it offers in its faculties. The university provides future-ready programmes for its students by integrating a syllabus that focuses on preparing graduates to face the 4IR and equipping them with 21st-century skills.

For example, students are taught these skills through conducive learning methods such as cooperative, problem-based, and case-study learning, using the latest 4IR technologies.

Speaking on this, UTAR vice-president for Internationalisation and Academic Development Ir Prof Dr Goi Bok Min said: “At UTAR, our programmes are industry-relevant and driven, as we constantly work with many industry collaborators and industry advisory panels to create future-proof graduates who are sought after by the industries nowadays. Students also have the opportunity to work on real industry projects, both local and overseas, allowing them to gain experience that can be brought forward to the working world after they graduate.

“Hence, this is why our graduates’ employability rates are high, and they are performing well in their respective industries; the university has put in much effort in creating graduates that are needed by industries in the 21st century.”

In another one of UTAR’s efforts to create future-proof graduates, the university has established the Department of Soft Skills Competency (DSSC) to allow students to develop a variety of soft skills.

Through DSSC, students are able to equip themselves with various soft skills that can enhance their competitive edge in the job market and that are needed by most companies.

These skills include communication and language skills, critical thinking, leadership skills, moral and professional ethics, complex problem-solving skills and many others.

DSSC organises a multitude of short programmes such as workshops, training programmes and community projects to train students into obtaining soft skills that will be beneficial once they graduate.

These programmes are conducted by professional trainers, with DSSC also working with the public and private sectors to give the best possible learning experience to the students in developing relevant industry skills.

To encourage students to join these programmes, UTAR has also introduced the UTAR Soft Skills Development Certificate (USSDC), a certification system to recognise students’ achievements and efforts in improving themselves in the areas of communication, thinking, teambuilding, leadership, entrepreneurship, innovation and life skills.

Students who join the USSDC certification system and attend the training programmes can earn USSDC points – those who have accumulated a minimum of 100 points are eligible to be awarded a USSDC certificate which can be used to increase their chances of employability after graduation.

UTAR offers undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in areas including Accountancy, Actuarial Science, Applied Mathematics, Arts, Chinese Studies, Malaysia Studies, Business and Economics, Biotechnology, Engineering and Build Environment, Information and Communication Technology, Life and Physical Sciences, Medicine and Health Sciences, Media and Journalism, Education and General Studies, and Agriculture and Food Science.

The university also engages in the provision and conduct of research, consultation, management and leadership training and other related educational services at its Sungai Long (Selangor) and Kampar (Perak) campuses.

“Visit UTAR Open Day this July 20-21, on August 24-25 and September 7-8, from 9am to 5pm at both our Kampar and Sungai Long campuses. For more information, please visit or call 05-468 8888 (Kampar Campus) and 03-9086 0288 (Sungai Long Campus),” says UTAR.

$!Students understand the current virology education at the UTAR Immunology and Virology Laboratory.