R. Mahbub

Universiti Teknologi MARA (MALAYSIA)
The current Malaysian construction industry scenario of constantly changing market and increasing globalisation is having a profound impact on the employability of its professionals. Practical or industrial experience is becoming more important as employers look for job-ready graduates to employ and as such place greater emphasis on the industrial experience and practical skills of fresh graduates. To address this, tertiary education institutions need to obtain continuous feedback from professional bodies and other industry stakeholders on course curricula in order to ensure that their graduates meet the changing needs of the industry. The quantity surveying undergraduate programmes offered in most universities in Malaysia would typically integrate the practical or industrial training component into their curriculum; generally in the final year of study. The practical training component provides valuable working experience in that the students could learn about the industry they will be working in, impress a potential employer and learn about their own strengths and weaknesses (Alanko, 2013) in a non-academic setting. Knowledge and experiences gained in the industry can later assist in strengthening the theoretical aspects learnt in class, and provide better understanding on the real working situation. This research explores the effectiveness of the practical training component in terms of scope, period of training and impact from the perspective of both the students and the employers. The research adopts the quantitative approach by using a questionnaire survey and statistical data analysis was performed to investigate related factors from the perspective of students and employers involved in practical training. The findings indicate that generally both students and employers gain from the practical training, although the expected scope of work from the students’ perspective vary according to their employers and period of training. From the employers’ perspective, their expectation on students’ ability to perform during practical training is mostly emphasized on their soft skills such as communication and interaction with clients and co-workers. Both students and employers however agree that the duration of practical training should be at least 6 months to provide students with adequate exposure to the industry.