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CENTEXS Digital Academy – Preparing Talents for the Digital Economy

In supporting the Sarawak Government’s digital transformation through talent development, Centre of Technical Excellence Sarawak (CENTEXS) provides various digital training programmes at its Digital Academy for Sarawakians to equip themselves with the necessary knowledge and skills in digital technology.

Established in 2019, it was formerly known as the Digital Training Unit, which was set up in June 2017 to generate a local technical workforce that possess the required digital skills to meet the goals of the State’s digital economy agenda.

This came as Chief Minister YAB Datuk Patinggi Dr Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari bin Tun Datuk Abang Haji Openg announced Sarawak’s shift towards digitalisation in April 2017 as a means to transform and accelerate the State’s socio-economic development.

As Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CENTEXS Haji Syeed Mohd Hussien bin Wan Abdul Rahman recounted in an interview with RAKAN Sarawak, the technical tertiary institution was involved in various labs related with digital economy following the Chief Minister’s announcement.

CENTEXS CEO Haji Syeed Mohd Hussien bin Wan Abdul Rahman

A team from CENTEXS was even sent to Shenzhen, China to meet representatives of Huawei Technologies Co Ltd at the latter’s headquarters for potential collaboration in developing digital training and digital lab in Sarawak.

This led to the momentous Memorandum of Understanding signing between the tertiary institution and the multinational technology company through Huawei (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd in November 2017, making CENTEXS the first Huawei Authorised Learning Partner in South East Asia.

Fast forward to 2018 and physical construction of what would become CENTEXS Digital Academy commenced. Around the same time, 12 instructors were sent for training at Huawei in China before obtaining the certification necessary to be able to train locally.

The cost to do so was tremendous, with spending of about RM280,000 to RM300,000 per instructor. Still, Haji Syeed Mohd Hussien believed it was a worthwhile investment and a vital technology transfer to give Sarawakians the affordability to obtain an international certification like Huawei’s via CENTEXS instead of going overseas.

“For this digital academy, total investment with Huawei, in terms of the training programme is around RM20 million,” he said. “RM17 million for the first phase and RM3 million for the next phase.”

The first phase, he described, involved six basic digital training programmes at the Digital Academy. They are Wireless Hardware Installation; Microwave Hardware Installation; FTTX OSP Hardware Installation; Data Centre & Network Equipment Hardware Installation; Telecom Energy & Data Centre Energy Hardware Installation; and Android Mobile Application Development.

A FTTX classroom at CENHUA (CENTEXS-Huawei) Digital Lab

While these programmes utilise equipment provided to CENTEXS by Huawei, the knowledge and skills obtained from completing them are universal, meaning that they can be applied for other types of similar equipment and not necessarily limited to Huawei technologies.

Except for the mobile application development programme (which is certified by Android Advanced Training Consultants), these basic programmes that would earn graduates a Huawei Certified Specialist certification are crucial to support the establishment of digital infrastructure, which is relevant to Sarawak’s ongoing effort to set up more telecommunication towers across the State.

“The digital economy depends on the back-haul portion of telecommunications network (e.g. telecommunication towers, fibre optics). Without these, there’s no Internet connectivity,” said Haji Syeed Mohd Hussien.

As Sarawak expands its digitalisation initiatives towards the use of digital technology such as Internet of Things (IoTs), artificial intelligence and virtual reality, CENTEXS keeps pace by establishing more partnerships with other international technology companies, including EON Reality, Keysight Technologies and Bosch Rexroth, for more digital training programmes.

staff member showing his work at the AVR Lab and Classroom

These partnerships, Haji Syeed Mohd Hussien noted, will enable CENTEXS to generate more digital talents to cover every aspect of the digital economy – “from the back-haul, to servers and data centres, all the way to devices such as IoTs,” he said.

At present, programmes at the Digital Academy are more extensive aside from the initial programmes, targeting school leavers, tertiary institution graduates and industry employees for upskilling and reskilling purposes.

They focus on nine areas, namely Digital Hardware; Software; Big Data, Data Analytics and AI; Immersive Technologies; Cyber Security; Industry 4.0; Blockchain; Digital Marketing; and IoTs.

Given the continuous effort CENTEXS is taking, the Digital Academy is bound to ensure that graduates are job-ready to meet the demands of Sarawak’s digital economy agenda through its international and industry-recognised programmes.Find out more about full-time programmes, short courses and facilities available at CENTEXS Digital Academy at https://www.centex-sarawak.my/academic/index.html.

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