PETALING JAYA: For the past eight months, mother-of-two Darshini Nadarajah had been on the hunt for a job to re-enter the working world after a five-year hiatus, but it was not easy.
Darshini, who left her career in human resources to focus on raising a family, had been itching to get back to a full-time job since last December but faced rejection after rejection.
The 39-year-old had been helping her husband with his events company but when the movement control order (MCO) was implemented, the business was badly affected and Darshini’s desire to find a job became more of a necessity.
While scrolling through LinkedIn for job opportunities, she stumbled upon a Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) advertisement offering free online courses.
“For someone like me who has been out of the working world, it is difficult to compete with fresh graduates or newly retrenched people who have skill sets which are relevant to the market.
“I knew I had to reskill and upskill myself so I signed up,” she said, referring to the free courses MDEC is offering in collaboration with Coursera as part of its #MyDigitalWorkforce initiative.
Over 3,800 online courses, ranging from data science to cybersecurity, are being offered until the end of the year.
Darshini has since completed four courses and while she is still looking for a full-time job, she has managed to land a contract gig with a software company in which her newly acquired skills will prove valuable.
“At the same time, I am also using my new skills in digital marketing to improve my husband’s events business,” she said, adding that the free courses were useful to anyone regardless of their educational background or experience.
Another beneficiary of the courses is Fatini Nadhirah, a master’s student in computer science.
The 24-year-old Penangite felt it was too good to be true as fees for courses related to her field of study were often charged in US dollars, costing thousands of ringgit.
Thankfully, she said, it was true, and she went on to complete 21 courses in data science and machine learning.
Fatini, who is physically challenged yet doesn’t let that become a barrier to learning, said the courses provided everyone with an opportunity to seek knowledge and improve themselves.
“It’s benefitted me in terms of knowledge and really helped with my master’s studies,” she said, adding that there were courses for all levels so that even beginners could follow with ease.
“It’s worth it because the people who teach and prepare the materials are from big companies like Google and Amazon.”
Selangor-based Tan Jia Er, 26, says she hopes the online courses will help her land a job after she completes her master’s in health economics.
She has taken courses in search engine optimisation (SEO) and integrated marketing communications, which she says are essential for businesses to remain relevant.
“The course is very in-depth and it gives me assignments which build technical skills. It is very beneficial for people who are learning from scratch,” she said, adding that she was glad the courses were free as they usually cost hundreds to thousands of ringgit.
“I am very happy that I get to study for free. I would advise people to give it a try regardless of whether they want to learn something new or upskill, have fun or gain knowledge.
“It’s easy, fun and knowledgeable. Take the opportunity since it’s free.”
MDEC CEO Surina Shukri said initiatives under the #SayaDigital movement from Aug 21 to 30 such as #MyDigitalWorkforce Week focus on cultivating digital skills in talents, enhancing the capabilities of all Malaysians so that these abilities can be monetised and digital jobs can be matched with the right talents.
MDEC is co-organising #MyDigitalWorkForce week with i-LEAD, Impact Malaysia, TalentCorp, the human resources ministry and the youth and sports ministry.
The #MyDigitalWorkforce Week is an online event that features a series of webinars on digital jobs demand, career awareness, upskilling opportunities and job matching to rally action to reskill the Malaysian workforce for digital economy jobs.
“In partnership with training and tech partners, RM1 million worth of free training courses will be offered at satellite events held in conjunction with the #MyDigitalWorkforce Week,” Surina said.