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Journal of European Industrial Training

Emerald Article: Social skills and social values training for future k-workers Rahim M. Sail, Khadijah Alavi

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To cite this document: Rahim M. Sail, Khadijah Alavi, (2010),"Social skills and social values training for future k-workers", Journal of European Industrial Training, Vol. 34 Iss: 3 pp. 226 - 258 Permanent link to this document: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/03090591011031737 Downloaded on: 22-10-2012 References: This document contains references to 36 other documents To copy this document: permissions@emeraldinsight.com

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JEIT 34,3

Social skills and social values training for future k-workers


Rahim M. Sail
Department of Professional Development and Continuing Education, Faculty of Educational Studies, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Selangor, Malaysia, and

226
Received 30 April 2009 Revised 4 August 2009 Accepted 1 October 2009

Khadijah Alavi
Institute for Social Science, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Selangor, Malaysia
Abstract
Purpose The main purpose of this paper is to determine the extent of acquisition of knowledge on social skills and social values by trainers of institutes and coaches of industries in training of trainers (ToT) programmes. It has been ascertained that social skills and social values can and must be taught to apprentices to enhance their employability skills as well as to remove any barriers for upward mobility in their careers. Design/methodology/approach A four-day ToT-cum-workshop was organized using hands-on experiential outdoor learning activities with lots of interactions, discussions and reections between participants and participants, and between participants and facilitators. A retrospective post- then-pre-evaluation design was employed to determine the amount of knowledge acquired by the participants using a four point Likert-type statements. Using the Handbook of Social Skills and Social Values as a guide, eight core social skills and eight core social values that were relevant to NDTS were identied, emphasized and evaluated in the training programme. Findings The overall ndings indicate that there was about 20 per cent increase in knowledge among the participants on social skills and social values after the training programme. These ndings indicate that social skills and social values can be taught when participants show increases in knowledge on all the social skills and social values studied. Practical implications Trainers of institutes and coaches of industries can integrate social skills and social values in their technical curriculum to provide apprentices with the foundation of human and social competence required to be an effective workforce to face future challenges and global competition. Originality/value This paper provides evidence that social skills and social values can be taught through appropriate teaching/learning techniques as well as providing the right learning environment. Keywords Training, Interpersonal skills, Employees, Career development, Malaysia Paper type Research paper

Journal of European Industrial Training Vol. 34 No. 3, 2010 pp. 226-258 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 0309-0590 DOI 10.1108/03090591011031737

Introduction The Malaysian Government strongly emphasizes the importance of human capital development as being in the forefront towards the continuous development of the nation. This emphasis is of paramount importance particularly in the context of competing at the international level in todays era of globalization where growth of technology brings changes at work to give impact to knowledge and skill of the
This research was made possible through a grant provided by the Department of Skills Development, Ministry of Human Resources, Malaysia.

individual workforce (Cullingford and Gunn, 2004). As a developing country, knowledgeable and highly skilled workforce is a critical foundation which determines whether Malaysia succeeds or fails in achieving her development goals. As such it is essential to ensure the Malaysian workforce is equipped and enhanced with the required knowledge and skills to be competitive and in turn succeed in the knowledge-based economy (Master Plan Malaysian Occupational Skill Development Training, 2008-2010). (Department of Skills Development, n.d.)Acknowledging the importance of this Master Plan, the development of human capital has been placed as one of the principal agenda of the Ninth Malaysia Plan (2006-2010) (Malaysia, 2006) as well as given a specic emphasis in the Second National Mission to enhance the countrys knowledge and innovative capacity of the workforce. Among the several drawn efforts to broaden and encourage knowledge and skill development activities is lifelong learning and training at all occupational levels. Lifelong learning includes all learning activities which include formal, non-formal and to a much lesser extent, the informal learning activities. In the Malaysian context, lifelong learning is largely formal learning and, to a much lesser extent, non-formal learning exists in the workplace (Bax and Hassan, 2003). There is a strong tendency to link lifelong learning programmes with employability and productivity of the workforce in many developing countries and Malaysia is no exception to this idea. Since there is a growing concern to provide employability and increase productivity, a huge allocation of budget (RM 45.1 billion or about US$ 16 million) has been channeled to several ministries and departments to ensure the delivery system in education and training, both formal and non-formal is strengthened and accessible to all (Malaysia, 2006, p. 273). Included in the budget is the specic emphasis on vocational education and training to ensure Malaysias future workforce is competent and possesses high competitive traits in line with the requirements of present day job market. The driving force behind the twenty-rst century economy is knowledge-driven with skilled human capital in tendem with competitiveness of the global market. To fulll these needs, several new, besides the present ones, vocational and technical training institutes have been built by the government to train secondary school graduates and well as to overcome unemployment among college graduates (Bakar and Hana, 2007). In this regard, vocational education and training is viewed as one of the solutions to the educational problems in developing economies as it can establish a closer relationship between school and work as well to provide secondary school graduates with varied skills to qualify them for middle and lower level skilled personnel (Tilak, 2002). In supporting this idea, Grubb (1985, p. 548) asserts that vocational education and training inculcates skill culture and attitudes towards manual work where it serves simultaneously the hand and the mind, the practical and the abstract, the vocational and the academic? In spite of all the efforts and generous budgets allocation for vocational education and training, a study on industrial workers in several Asian countries (including Malaysia) by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) revealed that graduates of technical and vocational education system have yet to achieve the standard desired by industries, either in terms of job quality or preparation for work. Industries, especially consumer of vocational education and training system, were not happy with graduates of the system mainly in the aspect of personal quality or employability traits (Bakar and Hana, 2007). In another similar study conducted on Malaysian technical

Social skills and social values training 227

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graduates found that 62.3 per cent cannot nd employment after nine months of graduation due to lack of employability skills, practical training experience (Syed Hussain, 2005). The general consensus among employers indicates that Malaysian graduates, especially the vocational and technical graduates, are well-trained in their areas of specialization but unfortunately lacked the soft skills needed by industries (Nurita et al., 2004). In general, most vocational education and training, especially in the Malaysian context, do not focus on the inculcation of social skills and social values[1] or soft skills or employability skills that a trainee or apprentice should possess. Social skills and social values are considered as a critical component of the vocational education and training system and are considered as an added value to the graduates. Many literatures that we have reviewed suggest that a trainee should have the qualities and competence required to meet present needs of employers and customers as well as to realize his/her potential and aspirations at work (Singh and Singh, 2008; Sail et al., 2007; Deil-Amen, 2006; Sheldon and Thornthwaite, 2005; Robinson, 2000). The qualities and competence that dominate success at work, in almost all cases, are interpersonal, self-management, communication, problem solving, management and teamwork skills. In line with this idea, and to support the importance of social skills and social values in determining superior performance of the workforce, Spencer and Spencer (1993) indicate that 80 per cent to 95 per cent of the workforce require generic competencies such as achievement and action, impact and inuence, managerial and personal effectiveness. Only 5 per cent to 20 per cent of the workforce require cognitive competencies in the form of analytical thinking, conceptual thinking and technical expertise. Social skills and social values for employment Employers dissatisfaction with young job applicant is not primarily due to inadequate technical knowledge or skill, but more due to this non-cognitive or non-technical abilities. Wentlings observation is typical on this subject:
A review of the literature indicated that employers have no quarrel with the skills performance of todays graduates, but they do have serious reservations when it comes to their non-technical abilities (Wentling, 1987, p. 354).

The National Centre on Educational Quality of the Workforce (NCEQW, 1999) carried out a survey of 4,000 private employers and found that employers place even more weigh on non-cognitive behaviours than on cognitive skills, ranging from basic attendance, cooperativeness and attitudes to facility with social interaction, participation, leadership, effort and preparation (Rosenbaum, 2001, p. 173). The teaching of social skills and social values (non-cognitive skills), either through an explicit curriculum or through integration in technical assignments and laboratory work, would allow apprentices to conform to the performance norms and expectations of a profession. In supporting this idea, Deil-Amen (2006, p. 399) asserts:
The lack of specic culturally relevant social skills may be an important barrier to the upward mobility of low income students attempting to secure semi- professional support jobs after completing subbaccalaureate degrees.

Implied in Deil-Amen (2006) idea is that social skills (and social values) can and should be taught to low income students to remove whatever barriers they may have to climb

up the career ladder. In fact social skills and social values or the human and social competence are integral partners of technical knowledge and skills to ensure good job performance in organizations. With present emphasis on knowledge workers as an important component of the gross national product (GDP), besides the availability of labour and capital, the combination of technical knowledge and skill with human and social competence in the development of k-workers is critical for sustained and continued growth of the economy, especially developing economies. Zenger and Folkman (2002, p. 45) argue:
The old paradigm of separating core academic curriculum from leadership, character and life skill education in schools in many developed countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom is gradually beginning to shift. The time is coming when classes in leadership will be equally important as those in mathematics, science or English; and from a carrier stand of point, possibly more important.

Social skills and social values training 229

In a competitive world market, we need holistic k-workers who are competent, versatile, creative and willing to learn from the best practices of others for organizational survival. In cases where mergers, acquisitions and downsizing strategies are creating erce competition for a limited number of positions, individuals who demonstrate positive job attitudes and a high degree of commitment towards a task would tend to be more successful in their careers (Sail and Alavi, 2007, p. 113). Another name for those non-technical abilities is employability skills simply stated write Buck and Barrick (1987, p. 29), employability skills are the attributes of employees other than technical competence, that make them an assert to the employer. These social skills and social values are new among the Malaysian workforce at all levels including coaches of industries and trainers of public and private institutions. The coaches and trainers have little or no knowledge on social skills and social values and are in no position to relate them to their apprentices as they have not been formally exposed either in their pre-service or in-service training programme. They are also not aware of the importance of social skills and social values to produce k-workers, and many have vague ideas that social skills and social values can be taught. Following their analysis of employability research, Herr and Johnson (1989, p. 17) conclude that the skills related to general employability can be learned; therefore, all of them are appropriate and important targets for professional interventions. Given the importance of social skills and social values in a vocational education and training curriculum to produce k-workers, they must be developed as an explicit curriculum and taught to apprentices. Many policy makers and curriculum experts in vocational education and training in the past have argued that social skills and social values are not critical to be included in a technical curriculum as they are naturally acquired through acculturation by society. This has resulted in social skills and social values being left out of the curriculum and what ever exposure students or apprentices have are left to chance to happen. In a similar vein, Lussier (2003) asserts that those who studied and analyzed ones career would agree that non-cognitive or personal attributes such as trustworthiness, loyalty and completing assignments on time with high quality product would be well sought after by industries. But these attributes do not appear in apprentices automatically. They must be taught, developed and promoted like any other technical subject or skill. Apprentices will only be successful in their careers when they have both the technical expertise as well a strong

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foundation of leadership, communication skills, self-discipline, integrity, and moderate in outlook and actions. Implicit in the assertion by Lussier are: . good job performance is a function of technical as well as human and social competence; . career advancement among employees is determined more by the acquisition of social skills and social values rather than by technical skills alone; and . human and social competence cannot be left to happen through natural means such as family, peers and society. The teaching of social skills and social values to apprentices is only possible when coaches and trainers of vocational education and training themselves acquire the knowledge and skills to do so. They must be exposed and trained through training of trainers (ToT) programmes not only to acquire core social skills and social values but also to acquire the techniques of instruction and dissemination in the process of producing k-workers (learning methodology). Figure 1 indicates competencies required of a k-worker in the National Dual Training System (NDTS). A successful k-worker interacts positively with supervisors, co-workers and more importantly with clients as well as be able to communicate effectively in relation to his/her profession (social skills). A k-worker should continuously improve his/her competency to keep pace with changing technology so as to produce the highest quality product (learning methodology/self-directed learning). To top it all, a successful k-worker has positive attitudes towards work and highly committed to the goals of the organization where he/she works (social value) (Sail et al., 2007, p. 4). The National Dual Training system (NDTS) was ofcially implemented in 2005 through the Department of Skills Development, Ministry of Human Resources, Malaysia. The goal is to produce knowledge workers (k-workers) who are competent in one or two vocational area(s) (e.g. auto mechatronics or tool making), in human and social competence (social skills and social values) as well as in learning methodology (learning how to learn). The implementation of NDTS is usually carried out at two different locations (dual), i.e. 70-80 per cent of the training is carried out in industries focusing on providing hands-on experience while another 20-30 per cent is carried out at training institutes focusing on providing basic and theoretical aspects of the training (Sail et al., 2007). The strength of the dual system lies in the combination of vocational competency-based training and the acquisition of social skills and social values (human and social competence). In other words, workplace training is a major component of the dual training and thus, the industries or the private sector is the driving force for the effective implementation of this system. Without the commitment and involvement of the industries, the human resource development strategy through vocational education training with the implementation of the dual system would not be realized fully. The scope of this paper is to determine the extent to which coaches and trainers of vocational education and training are convinced that social skills and social values are important in meeting present day industries needs as well as to determine that social skills and social values can be taught to coaches and trainers and in turn, to trainees or apprentices. The assumption in this ToT is that if coaches and trainers are convinced and believed that social skills and social values would enhance employability skills or

Social skills and social values training 231

Figure 1. Competencies of a k-worker

develop personal attributes of apprentices and that they are equipped with knowledge on social skills and social values as well as techniques of disseminations, then they would facilitate and promote them to their apprentices.

Objectives of the research Several objectives of the research were developed. They were to determine: . The status of knowledge and perception of importance of social skills and social values in vocational education and training among trainers of vocational institutes and coaches of industries. . The level of acquisition of knowledge on social skills and social values among trainers of vocational institutes and coaches of industries through hands-on experiential outdoor leadership and team-working exercises.

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Other additional knowledge on social skills and social values required by trainers of vocational institutes and coaches of industries to effectively implement the National Dual Training System.

232

Methodology Two aspects of the methodology are discussed: (1) the conduct of the ToT programme; and (2) the evaluation of ToT programme. The conduct of the training of trainers (ToT) programme A group of trainers of vocational institutes and coaches of industries (usually about 40 of them in each training session) who are involved in the National Dual Training System (NDTS) participate in a training programme aimed at exposing them with social skills and social values relevant in vocational education and training to produce k-workers. The study involved ve groups, with a total number of 179 who had participated in the training of trainers programmes (ToT) in 2008 under the NDTS. Besides the vocational and technical expertise which the trainers and coaches have possessed, they are also required to equip themselves with core social skills and social values so that they can integrate them in their teaching/learning functions to their apprentices. It had been determined earlier in 2006 through systematic observations of apprentices training and focus group discussions (a preliminary event) with trainers and coaches they had no formal training on social skills and social values before attending the ToT programme. Whatever social skills and social values that they may have are the results of informal and implicitly acquired through their own experiences. They have little or no clues at all how to impart these social skills and social values that they may have to their apprentices. The ToT programme was organized to introduce social skills and social values to trainers and coaches, besides identifying and selecting appropriate methods of teaching/learning that are relevant to inculcate them to apprentices. The training programme also attempted to provide basic knowledge and skills on how to evaluate whether or not the process and acquisition of social skills and social values had been successful. A four day ToT-cum-workshop was organized once in about two months. The participants who attended the training programme had qualications in elds of engineering, automotive, ICT, beautician and spa and accountancy and management related areas. These participants had vocational and technical expertise, but had never been formally exposed and trained in social skills and social values. The ToT-cum-workshop utilized 80 per cent of the training time carrying out outdoor hands-on experiential learning activities. The participants were divided into groups of ten and were asked to carry out several leadership, team-building and problem-solving exercises. Each group was assigned with a certain amount of merit points before embarking on the exercises and must have at least 65 per cent of the points at the end of the programme to receive a certicate[2]. A well-trained and experienced facilitator was assigned to each group to provide a minimal guidance for the group to begin its activities. Written instructions on how to conduct the exercises were given to each group. The group was given a time limit to complete its tasks and

merit points would be deducted if the group failed to complete the tasks assigned on time. The group could ask the facilitator for help, but merit points would be deducted for every help rendered by the facilitator. On the other hand, the group could earn extra merit points if they could complete their tasks on or before the time limit as well as to make effective group presentations after each exercise. The group presentation would focus on what social skills and social values they have learned from the exercises. All the exercises were videotaped and played back for the group to discuss and analyze as basis for developing contents on what social skills and social values that they had learned during each exercise. A handbook on core social skills and social values was given to each participant as a reference to be used in each group discussion as well as in the preparation for group presentations. In between the hands-on experiential learning exercises, the facilitators provided the participants with briengs and sketches on the importance of social skills and social values to develop future k-workers, some methods and techniques of teaching/learning to inculcate social skills and social values in the NDTS programmes and some strategies on how to evaluate social skills and social values (see Appendix for denition of social skills in NDTS programme). The evaluation of ToT programme Using the handbook on social skills and social values as a guide, eight core social skills and eight core social values were identied, emphasized and evaluated in the training programme. The eight social skills were: conceptual skill, learning skill, self-discipline, communication skill, interpersonal skill, teamwork, multitasking and prioritising and leadership skill. The social values were: compliance, cooperation, diligence, honesty, meticulous, moderate, punctuality and self-reliance (Sail et al., 2007)[3]. A retrospective post-then-pre evaluation design was used to determine the acquisition of knowledge on social skills and social values among participants at the end of the four-day training programme. A retrospective post-then-pre-evaluation design was considered to be the most appropriate method in assessing self-reported changes in knowledge, awareness, skills, attitudes or behaviours. It takes less time, is less intrusive and for self-reported changes, avoids pre-test sensitivity and response shift bias that result from pre-test overestimation or underestimation (Rockwell and Kohn, 1989; Davis, 2003; and Griner-Hill and Betz, 2005). In other words, retrospective evaluation minimizes or controls response shift bias in the traditional pre-test and post-test design where both before and after information are collected at the same time. Participants are required to rate their current knowledge, skill, attitude or behaviour now or after a training program and then, to reect back and rate that same knowledge, skill, attitude or behaviour before participating in the training program. The literature has also identied several limitations of the retrospective evaluation design such as: . the inability to accurately recall attitudes and behaviours in the past; . the need to report change or improvement to t program expectations or to inate perceived improvement on those items that are most important to them personally (social desirability bias); and . participants report improvement (subconsciously) to justify the time and energy they have invested in program attendance (effort justication bias) (Griner-Hill and Betz, 2005; Lamb, 2005; Shadish et al., 2002).

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The choice of retrospective post-then-pre evaluation design in this study was based on the fact that it reduces the response shift bias that may mask programme effectiveness as well as its versatility to evaluate many types of programmes for different target groups and in varied settings (Griner-Hill and Betz, 2005; Lamb, 2005). It is also a convenient way for the participants to respond to both (pre and post) measures at the same time and ensures a complete data set from the participants. Participants were required to response to a four point Likert-type statements with scales of never, sometime, often and always with scores of 1, 2, 3 and 4 respectively reecting their social skills and their corresponding social values (see Tables I-VIII for details). A total of 20 statements were used to measure the acquisition of knowledge on social skills and social values among the participants. Findings and discussions The ndings and discussions are organized according to: . prole of respondents; . status of knowledge and perception of importance of social skills and social values among the respondents; . acquisition of knowledge on social values in relation to social skills; and . additional knowledge and skills needed by respondents to implement NDTS effectively. Prole of respondents As seen in Table IX, 74.3 per cent of the respondents were in the age group of 20 to 40 years, while 19.6 per cent were 41 to 50 years. The mean age of the respondents was 33.6 years, indicating a relatively young group. Two-thirds (66.5 per cent) of the respondents had diploma and baccalaureate qualications and 22.9 per cent had secondary school qualications. Areas of expertise, 56.4 per cent were in the engineering related elds, 14.5 per cent were in the automotive eld and 12.3 per cent were in account and management elds. Almost 80 per cent of the respondents had ten years of experience and less. In summary, the participants on the ToT programmes were relatively young (20-40), had a mixed level of qualications with diploma and baccalaureate formed the largest percentage, engineering and engineering-related elds dominated the expertise and had ten years and less of working experience. The mixed group of respondents presents a challenge to the facilitators of the ToT programme, especially trying to accommodate individual differences with respect to different educational, professional background and working experiences. However, the mixed group of respondents also presents an advantage in that they could provide different and varied perspectives based on their different backgrounds and experiences in the discussion and reection sessions of the training programme. The sharing and exchanging of ideas among respondents would enhance better understanding and thus, improve the effectiveness of the training programme. Status of knowledge and perception of importance of social skills and social values Several questions were posed to the participants to determine their overall knowledge on social skills and social values after the training programme. Table X shows that

Social value 42.5 30.7 22.3 37.5 38.0 45.8 18.5 39.7 12.3 1.7 1.1

 X

Please state your stand on the following statements using never, sometimes, often or always that best describes you in relation to your social values and Before training (%) social skills After training (%) Never Sometimes Often Always Questions related to social skills Never Sometimes Often Always 14.5 16.8 7.3 47.5 38.0 40.2 36.3 45.3 51.4

 X 3.30

Compliance

2.83

5.6

5.0

2.2

I interpret instructions accurately to minimise making mistakes (conceptual) I check with my instructor if I am not sure of the safety instructions (Learning) I always keep my working table neat after using it (Self discipline)

Note: n 179

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Table I. Acquisition of knowledge among participants on compliance (social value) and related social skills before and after training using retrospective evaluation

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Social value

Cooperation 25.1 19.0 21.2 49.7 26.3 48.6 31.3 41.3 30.7

Note: n 179

Table II. Acquisition of knowledge among participants on cooperation (social value) and related social skills before and after training using retrospective evaluation  X 3.4 5.6 5.0 2.8 34.1 23.5 29.1 57.0 71.5 68.1 3.60 I allow my friends to have their say without interruption in arriving at decisions affecting the group (Communication) I help my group members to achieve group goals (Interpersonal) I show interest and work hard to achieve group goals (Teamwork)

 X

Please state your stand on the following statements using never, sometimes, often or always that best describes you in relation to your social values and Before training (%) social skills After training (%) Never Sometimes Often Always Social skills Never Sometimes Often Always

3.03

2.9

1.1

2.8

Social values 38.0 20.7 46.4 31.8 37.4 17.3

 X

Please state your stand on the following statements using never, sometimes, often or always that best describes you in relation to your social values and Before training (%) social skills After training (%) Never Sometimes Often Always Social skills Never Sometimes Often Always 4.5 0.6 19.5 5.5 42.5 33.0 33.5 60.8

 X 3.30

Diligence

2.90

7.3

1.1

I dont feel the burden in doing several tasks at the same time (Multitasking) I strive to complete my work no matter how complex they are (Self discipline)

Note: n 179

Social skills and social values training 237

Table III. Acquisition of knowledge among participants on diligence (social value) and related social skills before and after training using retrospective evaluation

238

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Social values 38.0 27.9 49.7 25.7 9.5 43.6 25.1 44.7 16.2

Honesty

Note: n 179

Table IV. Acquisition of knowledge among participants on honesty (social value) and related social skills before and after training using retrospective evaluation  X 0.6 3.9 6.7 10.1 29.1 49.2 49.2 47.5 44.1 40.2 19.5 3.20 I provide feedbacks based on facts of the situation (Conceptual) My group members know that I am talking the truth based on my track record (Leadership) I tell my team members of my personal limitations (Teamwork)

 X

Please state your stand on the following statements using never, sometimes, often or always that best describes you in relation to your social values and Before training (%) social skills After training (%) Never Sometimes Often Always Questions related to social skills Never Sometimes Often Always

2.70

1.1

3.4

15.1

Social values 30.7 36.3 52.0 9.5 49.2 16.2 0.6 0.6

 X

Please state your stand on the following statements using never, sometimes, often or always that best describes you in relation to your social values and Before training (%) social skills After training (%) Never Sometimes Often Always Social skills Never Sometimes Often Always 8.9 8.9 41.9 56.4 48.6 34.1

 X 3.31

Meticulous

2.73

3.9

2.2

I scrutinise my works repeatedly for accuracy (Conceptual) In spite of the several tasks and complex issues to be addressed, I manage to complete the tasks successfully (multidiscipline)

Note: n 179

Social skills and social values training

Table V. Acquisition of knowledge among participants on meticulous (social value) and related social skills before and after training using retrospective evaluation

239

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Social values 31.3 33.0 46.4 39.1 12.3 43.0 22.3 48.0 17.9

Moderate

Note: n 179

Table VI. Acquisition of knowledge among participants on moderate (social value) and related social skills before and after training using retrospective evaluation  X 0.6 3.4 7.3 5.6 7.8 41.3 43.0 50.3 51.4 50.8 38.5 3.40 I enjoy interacting with all members in my group despite of varying opinions (communication) I consider all views given by team members, regardless whether or not the views are extreme (interpersonal) I keep negative emotions under control when faced with difcult situations (Teamwork)

 X

Please state your stand on the following statements using never, sometimes, often or always that best describes you in relation to your social values and Before training (%) social skills After training (%) Never Sometimes Often Always Questions related to social skills Never Sometimes Often Always

2.80

2.8

1.7

2.2

Social values 36.3 31.8 45.8 20.7 44.7 15.1

 X

Please state your stand on the following statements using never, sometimes, often or always that best describes you in relation to your social values and Before training (%) social skills After training (%) Never Sometimes Often Always Questions related to social skills Never Sometimes Often Always 1.1 11.2 8.9 50.8 43.1 36.9 48.0

 X 3.31

Punctuality

2.78

3.9

1.7

I make sure that my team is on time in the most demanding situations (Leadership) I make sure I complete my work on time (Self discipline)

Note: n 179

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Table VII. Acquisition of knowledge among participants on punctuality (social value) and related social skills before and after training using retrospective evaluation

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Social values 13.4 37.4 40.8 16.8 51.4 34.6

Self-reliance

Note: n 179

Table VIII. Acquisition of knowledge among participants on self-reliance (social value) and related social skills before and after training using retrospective evaluation  X 1.7 0.6 11.2 27.9 39.3 71.5 47.8 3.52 I will try to complete a task given to me (Learning) I am ready to undertake different tasks on my own after undergoing the training program (Multitasking)

 X

Please state your stand on the following statements using never, sometimes, often or always that best describes you in relation to your social values and Before training (%) social skills After training (%) Never Sometimes Often Always Questions related to social skills Never Sometimes Often Always

3.00

0.6

5.0

Respondent prole Age group , 20 20-30 31-40 41-50 50 .  33:6 years X Education Secondary School PMRa, SPMb, STPMc SKM 2 and 3d Diploma Bachelor degree Master degree Areas of expertise Automotive Engineering and related elds Account and Management Beautician IT and Science based elds Others (education and counseling) Years of experience 1-5 6-10 11-15 16-20 21-25 26 .  7:43 years X

Freq. (n 179) 4 72 61 35 7

% 2.2 40.2 34.1 19.6 3.9

Social skills and social values training 243

41 13 80 39 6 26 101 22 13 13 4 95 47 13 16 4 4

22.9 7.3 44.7 21.8 3.3 14.5 56.4 12.3 7.3 7.3 2.2 53.1 26.3 7.3 8.9 2.2 2.2

Notes: aPMR Lower secondary education (three years of secondary school); b SPM Malaysian Certicate Education (ve years of secondary school); c STPM Higher School Certicate (Pre university education); d SKM Skill Certicate of Malaysia level 2 and 3 (one or two years of vocational education and training)

Table IX. Percentage distribution of respondents prole

64.8 per cent of the respondents had heard about social skills and social values in NDTS before coming to the training programme, but not sure what they were and how they could be integrated in a vocational and technical curriculum to produce k-workers. The majority of the respondents (98.9 per cent) indicated that they were condent to disseminate social skills and social values to their apprentices after undergoing the training programme and the majority (98.3 per cent) of them also believed that social skills and social values could be taught with appropriate teaching/learning techniques. It was heartening to note that 98.3 per cent of the respondents, after the training, indicated that they would help to implement the inculcation of social skills and social values in their teaching, but would need additional knowledge and skills to integrate them in their technical curriculum. The ToT programme had been successful in creating awareness among participants on the concepts of social skills and social values as well as the

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Items Have heard about social skills and social values but not sure what they are before attending the training programme After attending this training programme, I am condent that social skills and social values are important to produce k-workers Social skills and social values can be taught to apprentices I will help to implement the process of inculcation of social skills and social values in my teaching I need additional knowledge and skills to integrate social skills and social values in conducting teaching/learning

Yes (n 179)

No (n 179)

116 177 176 176 172

64.8 98.9 98.3 98.3 96.1

63 2 3 3 7

35.2 1.1 1.7 1.7 3.9

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Table X. Status of knowledge and perception of importance of social skills and social values among trainers of institutes and coaches of industries

importance of these concepts in the employment of vocational graduates. If trainers and coaches are convinced that social skills and social vales are important partners of a technical curriculum and that their teaching would enhance their graduates employability skill, then it is highly probable that they would participate to implement it. In this regard, Bhaerman and Spill (1988: 44) indicate that:
From an employment and training perspective, enrollees can receive recognition for the progress they make; gain capacities relating to employer demands, job requirements, and entry-level qualications; and improve their access to the primary labour market.

Every trainer or coach would like to see their apprentices gain employment and be successful in their careers. The success of their graduates will also reect the success of the trainers and coaches themselves. The teaching/learning of social skills and social values under classroom with straight lecture situations was found to be ineffective as learners have little or no interaction among themselves and with facilitators. The problem was compounded when learners perceived that the subject matter delivered was of little importance to their tasks as they did not see the relevance and connection between a vocational and technical focussed education with that of the human and social competence. This was evident when we went through conducting a training programme on social skills and social values to a group of trainers of institutes and coaches of industries (a training programme conducted by a technical institute[4]), when many of the participants indicated to us that they had difculty to relate social skills and social values with employment of their apprentices. When we went further into connecting social skills and social values with employability skills of the apprentices and provided them with specic examples of local and international situations, then we began to have more interest and more participation from the participants. The participants indicated that social skills and social values are dry subjects and should be made more interesting through activity-based approach in their teaching and learning. Based on this experience, we developed an activity-based or competency-based training programme with outdoor hands-on experiential learning activities. Group discussions, critical

reections and presentation sessions are instituted following each activity or we call them leadership and team-building exercise. Acquisition of knowledge on social skills and social values Compliance with conceptual, learning and self-discipline skills Compliance, as a social value, is important to be inculcated among apprentices to ensure high quality products following a standard or specic specications as required by the industry. Generally, compliance to rules and procedures at the workplace ensures a good performance with high quality products. The study indicated that the mean score of compliance, as a social value, was 2.83 before training and 3.30 after training an increase of 0.47 in relation to the conceptual skills, learning skill and self-discipline (social skills as in Table I). In terms of social skills, Figure 2 indicates conceptual skill showed the highest percentage increase in knowledge among respondents after training with 22.7 per cent, followed by learning skills (18 per cent) and self-discipline skills (10 per cent). The data in Table I and Figure 2 indicate that there were an upward increase in knowledge among participants on compliance as well as on the three social skills of conceptual, learning and self-discipline after the training. The ability to identify, analyze, synthesise and evaluate operating procedures as well as to acquire and apply knowledge in working situations is useful social skills in ensuring high productivity and quality products. The inculcation of compliance (social value), conceptual, learning and self-discipline (social skills) among the trainers and coaches would enhance the dissemination of these skills to apprentices to produce future k-workers. Cooperation with communication, interpersonal and teamwork skills As a social value, cooperation is an important employability skill to be inculcated among apprentices as it would promote the sense of oneness among all employees

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Figure 2. Mean score of compliance and percentage changes in related social skills before and after ToT programme

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to achieve organizational goals. The achievement of organizational goals is usually a group effort and cooperation becomes a basic tenet of any group effort. When compared the means of cooperation (social value) before and after training the data indicated that, there was an increase of 0.57 in the score after training (Table IV). This clearly showed that the training had provided positive changes in knowledge among participants about the social value (cooperation). To illuminate the changes of knowledge in relation to social skills, Figure 3 indicates teamwork, interpersonal and communication skills had increased by 22.07 per cent, 18.06 per cent and 15 per cent respectively after the training. Cooperation (social value) together with communication, interpersonal and teamwork (social skills) would forge a strong foundation for the achievement of organizational goals efciently and effectively. Diligence with multitasking and self-discipline It is important to inculcate diligence to apprentices as they would not easily give-up on a difcult and challenging task in work situation. They would endeavour or work hard and willing to sacrice time and energy to achieve success. Table III shows changes in knowledge among participants on diligence (social value) in relation to multitasking and self-discipline (social skills). There was an increase in the mean score of diligence from 2.90 to 3.30 (0.4) after the training compared to before the training, indicating that the participants had acquired knowledge on diligence as a social value when multitasking and self-discipline were introduced as social skills in the training exercises. Figure 4, on the other hand, indicates a positive increase of 15.09 per cent and 14.56 per cent respectively on multitasking and self-discipline skills in relation to diligence. Apprentices should be taught on carrying out multiple assignments in a given time so that they would be able to practice this out to face reality in real working situations in the future. In addition, multitasking and prioritising and self-discipline would encourage apprentices to be creative and have the ability to manage time effectively.

Figure 3. Mean score of cooperation and percentage changes of knowledge in related social skills before and after ToT programme

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Figure 4. Mean scores of diligence and percentage changes of knowledge in related social skills before and after ToT programme

Honesty with conceptual, leadership and teamwork skills As a social value, honesty is the foundation of a good behaviour and good behaviour reects trustworthiness and sincerity. Honesty at work gains the condence of supervisors and managers to delegate tasks and responsibility without fear of decreasing productivity or lowering the quality of products produced. Therefore, it is important to inculcate honesty among apprentices through learning assignments either individually or in groups. Changes in knowledge among participants on honesty (social value) and three related social skills (conceptual, leadership and teamwork) are shown in Table IV and Figure 5. The mean score of honesty before training was 2.70 while the mean score after training was 3.20, an increase of 0.5. This meant that there was an increase in knowledge on honesty among respondents after training in relation to the three social skills. With regards to social skills, all three showed increases of 23.04 per cent, 22.10 per cent and 13.06 per cent (teamwork, conceptual and leadership) respectively. This meant that the participants had acquired

Figure 5. Mean scores of honesty and percentage changes of knowledge in related social skills before and after ToT programme

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some knowledge on teamwork, conceptual and leadership after training compared to before training. Honesty, in relation to working together and collaborating as a team, would be able to identify, analyze and evaluate (conceptual) problems and make decisions accurately. As a leader, honesty is of paramount importance to develop groups faith and trust to achieve organizational goals. Meticulous with conceptual and multitasking skills Meticulous is an important social value for any staff to acquire where it emphasizes extremely careful or particular and precise about minute details, hence attentiveness to all aspects. This is an important value that should be inculcated among apprentices so that they will follow standard operating procedures to improve on quality and to minimize losses. A meticulous person usually makes less mistakes and ensures the organization to be up to-date with internal and external requirements. Table V shows the mean score for meticulous before training among participants was 2.73 and after training was 3.31, an increase of 0.58. This increase indicated that there was a gain in knowledge among participants on meticulous as a social value when it was placed against relevant social skills such as conceptual and multitasking. On a similar note, the conceptual skill and multitasking skill also showed an increase in knowledge among participants with 21.94 per cent and 20.47 per cent increase after the training respectively (see Figure 6). Meticulous (social value) goes hand in hand with conceptual and multitasking skills (social skills) in that it requires a detail analysis of information on a specic project before recommending it to top management for consideration and approval. Moderate with communication, interpersonal and teamwork skills As a social value, moderate behaviour depicts actions within limits of appropriate etiquette and manners to avoid feelings of unnecessary dissatisfaction and negative social repercussions. It is important to inculcate moderate behaviour among apprentices to enhance peer relationship at the workplace as well as to improve customer relationship and improve customers satisfaction. A moderate behaviour

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Figure 6. Mean scores of meticulous and percentage changes of knowledge in related social skills before and after ToT programme

avoids extremism in actions whether at the workplace or outside of the workplace. Table VI indicates an increase of 0.60 of the mean score of moderate (social value) before and after training in relation to communication, interpersonal and teamwork (social skills). This meant that there was a positive change in knowledge among participants on moderate after undergoing the training programme. Similarly, there was a positive increase in the percentage scores of teamwork, communication and interpersonal skills (24.14 per cent, 22.40 per cent and 20.40 per cent respectively) among participants (Figure 7). As a social value, a moderate behaviour relates well with the corresponding social skills of teamwork, communication and interpersonal skills A moderate person is able to collaborate, cooperate, negotiate and be a team player (teamwork skill); a moderate person is able to listen and express his/her views according to the norms of the organization (communication skill); a moderate person is able to relate with others and learn from criticisms (interpersonal skill). Punctuality with leadership and self-discipline skills Punctuality is an important value to be inculcated in every human being, especially apprentices of NDTS who are to be the future workforce in a globally competitive environment. How do you teach (or inculcate) punctuality to apprentices? One can use a coercive technique to induce change, but this is not a satisfactory method in the long run as people tend to revert to the old styles once the coercive situation disappears. We believe repeated reinforcements with positive feedbacks and activity-based experiential exercises with lots of discussions and reections among participants in the process of training would promote some form of internalisation on the value of change, especially punctuality. This is further strengthened with facilitators playing role models of punctuality in all programmes implemented in the training programme.

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Figure 7. Mean scores of moderate and percentage changes of knowledge in related social skills before and after ToT programme

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The evaluation of knowledge change among participants on punctuality showed an increase of 0.53 of the mean score, indicating that participants were aware of the importance of punctuality to be acquired by their apprentices (Table VII). When punctuality was pitched against leadership and self-discipline (social skills), there was a positive increase in the percentage scores of 19.19 per cent and 18.95 per cent respectively (see Figure 8). This meant that with appropriate techniques even the most difcult and intangible value, such as punctuality, can be taught. Punctuality, as a work behaviour and a social value, is critical in work situation. It has implications on productivity, image of an organization and in the long run, career mobility of the workforce. Self-discipline with learning and multitasking skills With ICT and related technological advancement, our workforce becomes more independent and self-reliant in carrying out their tasks and responsibilities. This has resulted in greater efciency of work done besides allowing exibility and versatility in carrying out work assignments. Therefore, self-reliance needs to be inculcated among apprentices to ensure organizational stability and growth. Table VIII shows an increase in mean scores of self-reliance from 3.0 before training to 3.52 after training, indicating that there was a change in knowledge acquired by participants on self-reliance after training. In terms of social skills, learning and multitasking, there was an increase of 23.42 per cent and 15.94 per cent respectively after the training in relation to self-reliance, indicating that there were also positive changes in knowledge among the participants (Figure 9). When self-reliance is pitched together with learning and multitasking (social skills), it assembles a corresponding and supporting roles of acquiring and applying knowledge from several relevant sources to carryout a task successfully. Additional knowledge and skills needed to implement NDTS The respondents indicated that they needed additional knowledge and skills to integrate social skills and social values in their vocational and technical curriculum. They had identied the acquisition of knowledge and skills in teaching/learning

Figure 8. Mean scores of punctuality and percentage changes of knowledge in related social skills before and after ToT programme

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Figure 9. Mean scores of self-reliance and percentage changes of knowledge in related social skills before and after ToT programme

methods to integrate social skills and social values as their top priority where 70.4 per cent of them indicated so, followed by the process of evaluation of social skills and social values in NDTS (68.2 per cent) and 57.5 per cent of them had identied the how to integrate social skills and social values in the learn and work assignments (LWAs) of the national occupational core curriculum (NOCC) as needed knowledge and skills to be effective in the implementation of the human and social competence of the NDTS programme (see Table XI). The present ToT programme did not go into details on how to disseminate social skills and social values, but more focus to introduce and to expose social skills and social values to trainers and coaches. We would focus in the second stage of training programme on the teaching and learning strategies as well as on the evaluation strategies to determine impacts and learning outcomes of inculcating social skills and social values in a vocational and technical curriculum.

Knowledge/skillsa Acquisition of appropriate teaching/learning methods for dissemination Ability to evaluate social skills and social values in NDTS Ability to integrate social skills and social values in learn and work assignments (LWAs) No response

Freq. 126 122 103 7

% 70.4 68.2 57.5 3.9 Table XI. Additional knowledge and skills needed to implement NDTS effectively as perceived by the respondent

Notes: a Respondents can choose to respond to more than one answer; n 179

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Conclusion and recommendations The study was designed to provide evidence to support the idea that social skills and social values or employability skills or personal attributes for employment could be taught to vocational apprentices to enhance their employability skills as well as to move up in their careers (Deil-Amen, 2006; Bhaerman and Spill, 1988; Zenger and Folkman, 2002; Herr and Johnson, 1989). It is a popular belief in our culture that these social skills and social values are a product of acculturation in a society either through religious education or through good family upbringing. It may be true to some extent, but social skills and social values would not be taken for granted anymore in this highly competitive global economy. Deil-Amen (2006) quoted several literatures that indicate past economic and sociological research have found that non-cognitive skills and behaviours are important predictors of labour market outcomes. Such non-cognitive behaviours play a crucial role in employers evaluations of job candidates, and the wrong non-cognitive displays can be particularly harmful for Black and Latino job seekers (Heckman and Lochner, 2000; Moss and Tilly, 2000). Based on the literatures and the ndings of the present study, we could not afford to leave social skills and socials values to happen by chance or they could be automatically switch on or off when necessary. They have to be inculcated and possibly internalized through formal and non-formal methods to ensure that they are acquired knowledge and skills as in the technical subject matter. They must be instituted in the technical curriculum either infused or integrated as part and parcel of contents to be delivered to apprentices. Social skills and social values could also be taught separately, but we believe in infusion or integration with the technical curriculum to be more benecial and effective to apprentices as they can relate and associate them better when social skills and social values are pitched together with vocational and technical contents. It is evident in the present study that the eight social skills and the eight social values, through the training of trainers programmes, have shown increases in values before and after training. This clearly indicates that, with appropriate teaching and learning techniques and appropriate learning environment, social skills and social values can be taught. After conducting the ToT programmes, we are more convinced now than before that social skills and social values can be taught to enhance employability skills of vocational and technical graduates. In a similar line of argument, Bhaerman and Spill (1988, p. 45) state:
I have found that pre-employment usually is taught in classrooms, workshops, or eld setting, whereas work maturity is taught in classrooms, during counselling session and at work sites. I maintain that work maturity skills can must be taught effectively in either school or employment and training settings. Schools, obviously, are the place to begin. For those who missed out dropped out for one reason or another employment or training agencies must carry the responsibility.

Curriculum experts, especially in vocational and technical elds, and related policy makers must revisit the technical curriculum to include the learning of social skills and social values. Social skills and social values can be integrated or infused through, for example, assignments of a technical subject where a learner is required to collaborate with his/her peers or to gather information from an expert in a particular eld and to present his/her ideas in a class or workshop followed by discussions and exchange of

ideas. Imbedded in the assignment is to enhance teamwork, use of other available resources and to develop communication skill. The present paper has outlined directly or indirectly on good performance of the workforce to increase productivity and improve quality of an organization. The driving force to achieve this goal lies within the human capital of an organization. The human capital must be trained and developed for good performance and good performance in an organization is a function of at least two basic elements, i.e. a technical expertise and a human and social competence. This idea falls within the scope and concept of human resource development (HRD) where an individual improvement and organizational development become the focus of vocational institutes and industries. Social skills and social values training, then become an important component of HRD, especially improving apprentices employability skills for job markets. The technical expertise and the human and social competence, in some form of a mixture ensure a successful career for the individual workforce as well as a successful organization able to withstand a strong global competition. Based on the ndings and conclusions, several recommendations are made to ensure that the human and social competence component of the NDTS could be realized. These are: (1) As a continuation of the ToT programmes, three other training programmes need to be implemented to complete the cycle and process of inculcation of social skills and social values as well as to ensure that the human and social competence component of NDTS are realized. The training programmes required are: . ToT on teaching/learning methods focusing on action-oriented teaching/learning (AOT/L) and self-reliant learning (SRL) with several examples on each of the methods. . ToT on evaluation methods focusing on pre-test and post-test, process as well as product evaluation methods to determine the extent to which the process of inculcation has been successful and apprentices have acquired the basic knowledge on social skills and social values. This will allow the measurement of impact and learning outcomes of the training programme. . ToT on integration of social skills and social values in learn and work assignments (LWAs). This could be done effectively through updating of present vocational and technical courses by technical institutes where participants are exposed to the mechanics and details of LWAs. The integration or infusion techniques needs to be elaborated with examples on how to do them. (2) All ToT programmes related to social skills and social values must be monitored and evaluated to ensure not only their effectiveness but also to improve whatever weaknesses and shortcomings that may be identied. This will ensure continuous improvement. (3) A follow-up research on determining whether or not trainers and coaches have the opportunity to disseminate social skills and social values to their apprentices at their workplaces as well as to identify problems, constraints and improvements in the implementation of teaching social skills and social values in apprenticeship training of vocational and technical institutes should be done.

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Notes 1. In this article, we use the term social skills and social values as this is in line with the National Dual Training System, Ministry of Human Resources, Malaysia, usage of the term. 2. The idea of merit points was instituted to ensure that the participants were serious in carrying out their tasks and to instill a sense of belonging to the group as well as to encourage them to do their best in all the tasks assigned to them. 3. See Figure 1 for a detailed account of social skills and social values used in this study. 4. The Technical Institute conducted technical and vocational subject matter training and gave us a slot to expose participants on social skills and social values. References Bakar, A.R. and Hana, I. (2007), Assessing employability skills of technical-vocational students in Malaysia, Journal of Social Sciences, Vol. 3 No. 4, pp. 202-7. Bax, M.R.N. and Hassan, M.N.A. (2003), Livelong learning in Malaysia, paper presented at International Policy Seminar on Making Lifelong Learning a Reality, Seoul, 24-26 June. Bhaerman, R. and Spill, R. (1988), A dialogue on employability skills: how can they be taught?, Journal of Career Development, Vol. 15 No. 1, pp. 41-52. Buck, L.L. and Barrick, R.K. (1987), Theyre trained, but are they employable?, Vocational Education Journal, Vol. 62 No. 5, pp. 29-31. Cullingford, C. and Gunn, S. (2004), Globalisation, Education and Culture Shock, Ashgate Publishing, Burlington, VT. Davis, G. (2003), Using retrospective pre-post questionnaire to determine program impact, Journal of Extension, Vol. 41 No. 4, available at: www.joe.org/joe 2003august/ttu.shtml Deil-Amen, R. (2006), To teach or not to teach social skills: comparing community colleges and private occupational colleges, Teachers College Record, Vol. 108 No. 3, pp. 397-421. Department of Skills Development (n.d.), Master Plan Malaysian Occupational Skills Development and Training 2008-2010: Skilled Workforce Drives Malaysian Global Competitiveness, Department of Skills Development, Ministry of Human Resources, Putrajaya. Griner-Hill, L. and Betz, D. (2005), Revisiting the retrospective pre-test, American Journal of Evaluation, Vol. 26 No. 4, pp. 501-17. Grubb, W.N. (1985), The convergence of educational system and the role of vocationalism, Comparative Education Review, Vol. 29 No. 4, pp. 526-48. Heckman, J. and Lochner, L. (2000), Rethinking education and training policy: understanding the sources of skill formation in a modern economy, in Danziger, S. and Waldfogel, J. (Eds), Securing the Future: Investing in Children from Birth to College, Russell Sage Foundation, New York, NY, pp. 47-86. Herr, E.L. and Johnson, E. (1989), General employability skills for youths and adults: goals for guidance and counseling programs, Guidance & Counseling, Vol. 4, pp. 15-29. Lamb, T. (2005), The retrospective pretest: an imperfect but useful tool, Evaluation Exchange, Vol. 11 No. 2. Lussier, R.N. (2003), Management Fundamentals: Concepts, Applications and Skill Development, Thomson South-Western, Mason, OH. Malaysia (2006), Ninth Malaysia Plan 2006-2010, Government Printing of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur.

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Moss, P. and Tilly, C. (2000), Stories Employers Tell: Race, Skill, and Hiring in America, Russell Sage Foundation, New York, NY. (The) National Centre on Educational Quality of the Workforce (NCEQW) (19992001) in Rosenbaum, J. (Ed.), Beyond College for All: Career Path for the Forgotten Half, Russell Sage Foundation, New York, NY. Nurita, J., Shaharudin, J. and Ainon, J. (2004), Perceived employability skills of graduating students: implications for SMEs, UNITAR E-JOURNAL. Robinson, J.P. (2000), What are employability skills?, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, available at: www.aces.edu/crd/workforce/publications/employability-skills.PDF Rockwell, S. and Kohn, H. (1989), Post-then-pre evaluation, Journal of Extension, Vol. 27 No. 2, pp. 19-21. Rosenbaum, J. (2001), Beyond College for All: Career Path for the Forgotten Half, Russell Sage Foundation, New York, NY. Sail, R.M. and Alavi, K. (2007), Making the implicit and assumed curriculum explicit and a reality through NDTS: Impact on career planning and human capital development, in Ismail, M., Krauss, S.E. and Ismail, I.A. (Eds), Career Development: Advancing Perspective and Practice, UPM Publisher, Serdang, Selangor. Sail, R.M., Aroff, A.R.M., Samah, A.A., Hamzah, A., Noah, S.M. and Kasa, Z. (2007), Handbook on Social Skills and Social Values in Technical Education and Vocational Training, Department of Skills Development, Ministry of Human Resources, Putrajaya. Shadish, W., Cook, T. and Campbell, D. (2002), Experimental and Quasi-experimental Designs for Generalized Causal Inferences, Houghton Mifin, New York, NY. Sheldon, P. and Thornthwaite, L. (2005), Employability skills and vocational education and training policy in Australia: an analysis of employer association agendas, Asia Pacic Journal of Human Resources, Vol. 43, pp. 404-25. Singh, G.K.G. and Singh, S.K.G. (2008), Malaysian graduates employability skills, Unitar E-journal, Vol. 4 No. 1, pp. 14-44. Spencer, L.M. and Spencer, S.M. (1993), Competence at Work: Models for Superior Performance, John Wiley & Sons, New York, NY. Syed Hussain, S.H. (2005), Meeting the needs of employers, Proceedings of National Seminar The Development of Technology and Technical-Vocational Education and Training in an Era of Globalization Trend and Issues, Kuala Lumpur. Tilak, J.B.G. (2002), Vocational education and training in Asia, in Keeves, J.P. and Watanabe, R. (Eds), The Handbook on Educational Research in the Asia Pacic Region, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht. Wentling, R.M. (1987), Teaching employability skills in vocational education, Journal of Studies in Technical Careers, Vol. 9 No. 4, pp. 351-60. Zenger, J.H. and Folkman, J. (2002), The Handbook for Leaders: Extraordinary Leaders, McGraw-Hill, New York, NY.

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Further reading Cotton, K. (1993), Developing employability skills, NWREL/School Improvement Research Series (SIRS), available at: www.nwrel.org/scpd/sirs/8/c015.html (accessed 25 February 2009).

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Ducci, M.A. (1996), Training for employability, discussion paper, ILO, Enterprise Forum 96, International Labour Organization, Bureau for Workers Activities, (accessed 24 February 2003). Knight, P.T. (2001), Editorial: employability and quality, Quality in Higher Education, Vol. 7 No. 2, pp. 93-5. Lee, D. (2002), Graduate employability: literature review, available at: www.itsn.ac.uk/em beddedobject.asp?id17864 (accessed 24 February 2003). Ramsey, R.D. (1994), How to hire the best, Supervision, Vol. 55 No. 4, pp. 14-17. Appendix Denition of social skills in NDTS programme Communication skills Ability to listen and to express verbally, non-verbally and in writing. Conceptual skills Interpersonal skills Ability to identify, analyze, synthesize and evaluate information or event. Ability to relate with others and learn from criticism, cope with ambiguity and remain composed in uncomfortable and stressful situation. Ability to acquire and apply knowledge, learn how to nd and use resources to facilitate learning, to meet changing needs and acquire high level of prociency. Ability to motivate, guide and be supportive of others to accomplish something as well as possessing delegation skill.

Learning skills

Leadership

Multitasking and prioritizing Ability to capitalize on all skills, have winner attitude, organizing skills and ability to manage time. Self-discipline Teamwork Possess motivation, have initiative, condence and efcacy. Ability to collaborate, cooperate, and negotiate and be team players.

Denition of social values in NDTS programme Compliance Acting according to certain accepted standards. The re-verication to which corrected nonconforming product is subject prior to release must include determination of conformity of the product to the product requirements, not merely conrmation that correction measures have been performed as intended. Cooperation Positive efforts performed individually within the group to achieve a common aim. It promotes communal benet or a feeling of goodness that can be felt by all; solidarity, i.e. an atmosphere of understanding felt by all; camaraderie, friendship or amicable relationships; shared responsibilities to be shouldered by all members of the group for the good of all; and tolerance i.e. willingness to give and take, be patient and to control emotions in order to avoid arguments and disagreements.

Diligence

Resolute or rm, steadfast and persevering in the performance of any task; endeavour or work hard with enthusiasm, initiative, innovation and creativity to achieve success; dedicated or show interest and is willing to sacrice time and energy in the performance of an action; determined or offer enthusiastic and spirited effort that is not easily defeated; and industrious or application of maximum patience and effort in the performance of any task or action. Conduct and demeanour that demonstrate good and trustworthy intentions, without expecting any form of reward. Trustworthy is responsible attitude that encourages belief and condence from others; truthful is make accurate statements without adding or concealing details; and perform a task or an action without expecting compensation is sincerity. Extremely careful or particular and precise about minute details, hence attentiveness to all aspects. In balancing between self-interest and the interest of others, the decision made should not be based entirely on what is needed by oneself or an individual nor should it solely emphasise the importance or interest of others in such a manner that it could cause harm to the individual. One is moderate in speech and actions when these are within the set limits of appropriate etiquette and manners in order to avoid hurt feelings and negative social repercussions. Prompt and always on time for appointments, always meet datelines and schedules. Use time productively. Able and willing to take action without relying on others. A self-reliant person is a responsible person who is willing to shoulder duties and responsibilities, and to carry out tasks until completion. This individual is also able to take independent action, i.e. willing and capable to take action for oneself without relying on others. Self-reliance is also self-improvement, which means an attempt to develop the potential within oneself with the intention of achieving success. It is also self-condence, i.e. believe in ones ability and willing to take action.

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Honesty

Meticulous Moderate

Punctuality Self-reliance

About the authors Rahim M. Sail is currently a Professor of Extension Education with the Department of Profesional Development and Continuing Education, Faculty of Educational studies, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM). He is also a Research Associate with the Institute for Social Science Studies, UPM and a Visiting Lecturer of human resource development with Asia Europe Institute, University Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. Over the last 30 years or so, Professor Rahim M. Sail has taught several courses in extension education to undergraduate as well as to graduate students of UPM. His research interests are in areas of programme

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development and evaluation in extension education, human resource development, transfer of technology in agriculture and community education and development. He is presently a consultant with the Department of Skills Development (social skills and social values), Ministry of Human Resources, Malaysia. Khadijah Alavi was a Research Assistant with the social skills and social values project of the Department of Skills Development, Ministry of Human Resources, Malaysia. While a Research Assistant, she completed her PhD programme in 2008. After completing her PhD, she became a post doctoral student with the Institute for Social Science Studies, Universiti Putra Malaysia embarking on a research project related to adult children experiences in caring aged parents. This project is funded by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, Malaysia. She had experience in teaching undergraduate students in the Faculty of Human Ecology, UPM as well as Faculty of Social Science, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. Khadijah Alavi is the corresponding author and can be contacted at: khadijahalavi@yahoo.com

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