Date of Award

Spring 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Curriculum & Instruction

First Advisor

James P. Greenan

Committee Chair

James P. Greenan

Committee Member 1

James M. Brown

Committee Member 2

Aman Yadav

Committee Member 3

Donald D. Buskirk


Employability skills training programs are an essential strategy to improve the skills of the workforce and minimize unemployment in Malaysia. However, there has been a lack of assessment and evaluation studies regarding local employability skills training programs. Existing local studies are focused more on the identification of the skills that allow a person to be employable. Due to the lack of assessment and evaluation studies, stakeholders seem perplexed about the direction of training programs. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of educators, employers, and recent graduates regarding the role of employability skills training programs in the workforce of Malaysia. The study also identified those factors that facilitate and improve training programs. The theoretical framework for this descriptive study was based on Human Capital Theory (Becker, 1993; Schultz, 1961). All participants for this study were from the central economic region of the west coast of peninsular Malaysia. The first population was engineering, technical, and vocational educators in public higher education institutions. The second population was employers in the manufacturing sector. The third population was recent graduates who were enrolled in employability skills training programs in higher education institutions and training centers. A questionnaire was adapted to gather perceptions from the respondents. The findings of this study revealed the importance of training programs for improving the skills, minimizing unemployment, and developing the workforce of Malaysia. Educators and recent graduates agreed about the positive impact of such programs on trainee skills. However, employers perceived that employability skills training programs neither ensure improvement in the skills, minimize unemployment, nor develop the workforce. The factors that facilitate the involvement of recent graduates in training programs and recommendations were also identified. Additionally, the findings revealed that employability skills training programs are relevant for recent graduates and workers in the labor force. Further, the findings identified the most integral skills that recent graduates should possess to obtain employment in the competitive job market as perceived by educators, employers, and recent graduates, including discipline and integrity, interpersonal skills, and professionalism, creativity and innovation, teamwork, lifelong learning, ability to apply knowledge, and knowledge in specific engineering disciplines.