SMEs, start-ups encouraged to apply for LiKES matching grant

KUALA LUMPUR, March 19: Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups, including those operating in rural areas, are encouraged to apply for the Internship Placement Matching Grant for Small and Medium Enterprises (LiKES).

In making the call, Talent Corporation Malaysia Berhad (TalentCorp) Group chief executive officer Thomas Mathew said LiKES, which was launched yesterday, enables the industry to train local talent through industrial training by optimising government incentives to alleviate the burdens of all involved parties.

Photo by Izzani Said.

“The key element in strengthening the coordination between labour supply and demand is the implementation of structured industrial training. Structured industrial training serves as one of the main strategies to develop quality talent.

“It also plays a role in reducing the unemployment rate among the youth, addressing skill mismatches and underutilisation, as well as improving talent skills to meet current and future industry needs,” he said in a statement here today. 

Yesterday, Minister of Human Resources Steven Sim Chee Keong launched LiKES, a new initiative under TalentCorp, with a total matching grant of RM30 million provided by the government to benefit 30,000 trainees.

The LiKES matching grant covers a training period of up to six months and is open to applications by SMEs and start-ups, in addition to the qualified applicant committing to offer a training placement of at least 10 weeks and provide a minimum industrial training allowance.

Thomas said that the growing number of students enrolling in institutions of higher learning has resulted in the demand for industrial training exceeding 277,000 individuals every year, prompting the need to review industrial training schemes, such as assessing companies’ ability to offer placements to students.

According to him, a workshop conducted by TalentCorp in July 2023 to discuss the direction of national industrial training revealed that, among other things, not all companies can offer structured industrial training with allowances due to various reasons.

Therefore, Thomas viewed LiKES as a forward-thinking intervention aimed at nurturing and preparing young talent, whether university students or those taking up technical and vocational education and training (TVET) programmes, to meet the industry’s demands.

He said the initiative also serves as a prompt and efficient intervention to stimulate the economy of SMEs and bolster the job market.

“LiKES also aims to alleviate the cost of living burden on industrial trainees, particularly those residing in major cities such as the Klang Valley, Penang, and Johor Bahru, where a majority of industrial training placements are available,” said Thomas.