JAKARTA: Once his three-month technical course is up, 18-year-old Jefri will be one of 1,300 graduates from a vocational centre in Bekasi equipped with a basic skill to be employed, and avoid joining those in the country’s large informal sector.

Courses such as the cellphone software course he taking may not get him a job that pays a lot, but it guarantees that he will be lifted from the un-predictability of working in the informal sector which makes up about 60 percent of the jobs here.

Yesterday, Singapore’s Temasek Foundation, Singapore Polytechnic (SP) and Republic Polytechnic and Indonesia’s Ministry of manpower and Transmigration (MOMT) inked a deal to launch a three-year programme to revamp the management and teaching styles of vocational centres.

It aims to produce trainers and better curricula to help bridge the mismatch between job requirement and workers’ skills.

Temasek Foundation will contribute $1.3 million while MOMT will add half of that. About 15 staff from the two polytechnics will conduct a series of workshops for some 110 MOMT staff from the vocational centres, policymakers and directors in specialised programmes across 11 vocational centres.

SP principal Tan Hang Cheong said this first batch will use what they had learn to train their peers. “Picking this first group is very important as we expect them to make a difference.” Workshops have taken place in Solo, Bekasi and Bogor since February.

Manpower and Transmigration Minister Muhaimin Iskandar said the partnership can reduce the country’s high number of workers in the informal sector as well as those going overseas to work.

He said: “If more people … see the value of vocational education, they will perhaps see it as an alternative to working overseas … The hope is that once they are trained, their employability will increase and they don’t have to work in that (overseas domestic worker) sector. –Zubaidah Zazeer, Straits Times