Awards Category: Corporate Employee (Private/Public Sector)
Mr Mohammad Rizan Hassan
Founder of “1 Belia, 1 Kemahiran”
Mohammad Rizan is the founder of the “1 Belia, 1 Kemahiran” (1B1K) project which helps at-risk, marginalised youth find education and employment opportunities. He has also established the TEKAT training centre, which offers vocational training for marginalised youth to work in the automotive industry in various capacities
Rizan (also known as Toyol) was born into an impoverished family with no access to clean water or electricity. With few opportunities for education, he was arrested at the age of 12 for stealing and other juvenile offences, and aged 15 was given a three-year sentence at the Henry Gurney School for Reformation and Rehabilitation. On his release, he was rejected by his family and lived on the streets for a year. Determined to make a better life for himself, he worked a series of odd-jobs before getting a job with a Japanese factory in Pasir Gudang. After several years at the company, he was sent to Osaka, Japan for training and work experience, and the chance to advance his skills in robotics engineering.
Creating a Better Future
Rizan originally established the TEKAT Automotive Centre project to offer vocational training and employment in the automotive industry for marginalised and at-risk youth. He used the “Train and Place” method, in which students do a combination of classroom and on-the-job training, and initially reached out to automotive companies that required skilled staff in specific fields. Students were placed as apprentices in those organisations, and worked full-time while undertaking training funded by contributions from government and other institutions.
Rizan was determined to reach a wider range of marginalised youth, and established 1B1K to “close the gap” for students who left school without the opportunity (financial or otherwise) to pursue higher education or vocational training. 1B1K offers a range of mostly free vocational courses in partnership with 35 strategic partners across Malaysia, including draughtsmanship, hospitality, beauty therapy, welding and furniture production. Prospective students are only required to pass the ‘3M’ (read, write and count) minimum requirement to qualify for the programmes. In additional to its vocational programmes, 1B1K offers courses in “soft” skills, including volunteerism, leadership, careers and sports.
Hassan also works as the Information Chief at the Malaysian Youth Council, a non-profit organisation which co-ordinates events and opportunities for youth across Malaysia and is the umbrella body for youth organisations in the country. The MYC promotes independence, patriotism and volunteerism to build a strong national youth identity and assist with national development.
Rizan initially funded 1B1K through his income as a robotics engineer. He actively promoted the programme on social media and through other channels, and has held roundtables, workshops and consultative councils to come up with ways to bridge the funding gap. Eventually, Rizan secured RM150,000 funding from the Malaysian Youth Council to assist with promotion, administration and organisational costs. 1B1K students are now eligible for financial assistance through the Development Fund for Skills (PTPK) while other organisations including Help for the B40 and Help for Youth India have provided additional support. 1B1K’s strategic partners also now contribute financially to the project to ensure its sustainability.
Muruganantham was socially ostracised as a result of his quest. His village believed he was perverse and taking part in witch-craft when he was caught washing out his clothes covered in goats’ blood. His wife left him, and he was eventually asked to leave the village. “My wife gone, my mum gone, ostracised by my village,” he recounts. “I was left all alone in life”. Following the success of his venture, he reconciled with his wife who is now his biggest supporter.
He has also faced immense challenges distributing the machines in the conservative villages of Northern India. The stigma surrounding menstruation remains high, with women forbidden from visiting wells, public places of temples, or to prepare food while they are menstruating. In some instances, he has been unable to talk with women except through their husbands or fathers, or behind a curtain.
Rizan is a frequent public speaker at talks and debates regarding youth empowerment, and he is a vocal advocate for a national skills agenda for youth. He has also been invited to be a panel speaker for several TV programmes (forums and talk shows) to discuss the importance of skills training initiatives for at-risk youth. He has won the 2011 National Premier Youth Award and the 2011 Eminent ASEAN Youth Award.
Since its inception, an estimated 2,500 students from the TEKAT Centre have completed their training and have been successfully placed in automotive job fields. Between the years 2010-2015, about 4,976 youths successfully completed the 1B1K finance and educational skills programmes, and 1B1K has 35 strategic partnerships around Malaysia.
In May 2016, about 500 youths from this 1B1K program received their certificates and diploma in their respective skills at their convocation ceremony which was officiated by the Minister of Youth and Sports Malaysia, The Honourable Mr. Khairy Jamaluddin.