By Teh I-Vern (BAC Apprentice Batch 1)
The COVID-19 pandemic has crippled the job market, making it the most volatile it has been in decades.
In June 2021, Malaysia recorded a staggering unemployment rate of 4.8% when just two years ago in 2019, the average unemployment rate 3.31%. Now more than ever, fresh graduates looking for jobs are starting to realise that just graduating with a degree is not going to cut it anymore.
Instead of sitting around and just accepting the “grim reality” of the present situation, BAC Education Group responded, and introduced the BAC Apprenticeship Programme. This programme, in collaboration with PERKESO, is designed to upskill law students, empowering them with knowledge and skills that will serve in understanding the job market of today. With traditional knowledge acquisition and modern skillsets to boost development and growth, participants are building their ‘own brand’, making them more marketable for the job market.
The BAC Apprenticeship Programme embarked on its maiden voyage in late May 2021 with 30 apprentices. Despite all 30 apprentices being law graduates, the programme was not just confined to teaching skills and training applicable to the legal industry.
Besides putting the apprentices through the expected “Lawyering Skills” sessions and trainings, the programme went far beyond that, and had the apprentices undergo courses in Personal Branding, Project Management, Digital Marketing, and even Social Media Marketing. With the concept of “Working from Home” becoming the new norm, and work becoming increasingly digitised, apprentices realised and understood that being able to market ‘one’s self’ online effectively is no longer a benefit, but a necessity.
BAC also intended for the programme to instil the value of “giving back”, reminding apprentices that though careers are important, it should not keep them from helping others and those in need. The apprenticeship programme assigned apprentices to work with different NGOs, where they learned to source crowd and corporate funders, mainly for two running initiatives under BAC – FreeMakan, helping vulnerable communities through food aid, and COVIDFund, helping hospitals procure urgently needed medical equipment.
Three months on, the BAC Apprenticeship Programme’s maiden voyage with the first 30 Apprentices has come to an end, but it was nothing short of a success. Being one the apprentices myself, I can say for certain that most, if not all of us, left the programme with our heads held higher, hearts and hopes stronger than it was before we enrolled into the programme.
Through the programme has ended for us, the friendships and connections made throughout the programme will remain and last for years to come.
Here are what a few of the apprentices had to say:
“The programme helped shape me by strengthening my personal branding and to see myself as more than just a law graduate. I became more confident in my own abilities and have gained skills and knowledge that goes beyond the classroom. I am now able to face the uncertainties of the job market with tenacity and confidence.” – David Ranil
“Truly a life changing experience. The skills provided in this programme are beneficial in helping one to cope in the work force during the pandemic. It really helped me build my interpersonal skills, and a personal brand for myself. It is a noble initiative with strong outcomes! Super grateful I was chosen for it!” – Deborah Adison
“Being part of the BAC Apprenticeship Programme with a group of vibrant fellow apprentices has taught me the importance of teamwork, adaptability and resilience. Through the various courses and projects, we were assigned to manage, I was given a chance to see how I could put the skills I attained from my pursuit of a law degree into practice.” – Hew Hoong Liang (Nathan)
The Apprenticeship Programme has now begun a new voyage. On board this time are 100 new apprentices. We hope they will go through the same journey of learning and growth as we have, if not go even further.