Success Stories 2014

Take it From Us – SHRDC Footwear Technology Course Will Change Your Life!

Former students share their fun experiences on how and why 10 months can make a difference for a lifetime

At SHRDC, Malaysia’s footwear industry talents are being moulded and given a rare opportunity pursue their dreams. Fully paid for by the Malaysian government, the 10 months footwear technology course has received the endorsement of the Malaysian Footwear Association for its quality and in developing employable, job-ready talents for a fast growing international industry.

 Here, two graduates share their personal experiences on how the course allowed them to find their true calling while fulfilling their talent to ultimately spearhead the next generation of shoemakers in Malaysia.

 Lim Wai Kei 23,


For this young gentleman, it all started with his passion for fashion. With his existing background in apparel design, shoe designing would provide a perfect fit to his skills. After months of searching for a suitable programme, the budding fashion designer from Kuantan found SHRDC’s footwear technology course and signed up for it. The RM20,000 programme was fully paid for by the Malaysian government.

 “To learn what I love, sponsored by the government in an industry recognised course, coupled with practical internship posting and monthly allowance, it was almost too good to be true! After months of searching, I thought I should just forget about it. But then came SHRDC and I didn’t think twice about enrolling. It was one of the best decisions in my life,” recalls Wai Kei.

 Joining the course in 2013, Wai Kei and his classmates went from beginners to competent shoemakers in just 10 months, The first half of the programme saw them focusing on the basics of the craft before they were attached for a five-month internship with a leading Malaysian shoemaker.

 During his time with SHRDC, Wai Kei received a comprehensive education – learning about foot measurement, selecting the correct shoe last (mould), choice of materials available, as well as the marketing and business aspects of the industry. He also went on field trips to find out about the latest trends and styles in the market today.

 “From my first day, everything was great. My seniors had told me that SHRDC was a very professional setup. But I only fully grasped what he meant when I got here. The facilities, equipment and the whole place is top notch. The lecturers were knowledgable and friendly– taking us every step of the way till we could produce a pair of shoes by ourselves. Specifically, I like how they placed equal emphasis on both men’s’ and women’s’ shoes. This is an asset when we join the workforce,” he shares.

 Along the way, the course also moulded the students to develop much-needed life skills to succeed in a competitive job market. “I am definitely more disciplined and professional about how I work. The course isn’t just about shoe-making, it’s about life and being a better version of yourself. It will surprise and develop you in so many ways,” he added.

 At present, Wai Kei harbours dreams of starting out on his own – to open his own designer shoe boutique.

 “I know, I’m still new at this, but I feel confident that I can make it. If you had asked me 10 months ago, if I could make a pair of shoes with my two hands, I would have laughed. But look at me now. I am a qualified shoe designer,” he says confidently.

 Together with his fashion designing skills, Wai Kei believes he has an edge and with the lack of shoe designers in the country, he is positive he can succeed.

 “I am in the right profession. I love what I do and am thankful that SHRDC and the government gave me this opportunity. I have one request though. I wish the course was longer or can I come again for a follow-up? It was so much fun!” he smiles.

 


After completing his SPM, Chang Ka Hin studied Business Management and how he arrived at shoemaking is indeed a special story. Though a little apprehensive of leaving a stable banking job, passion and curiosity won over and he took the plunge of becoming a shoemaker.

After 10 months, not only did Ka Hin succeed, he was selected as best student – winning the internal SHRDC shoe-making competition. He took first place over the entire class. Such was his progress that the company that took him as an intern has hired him full time. Today, Ka Hin is a busy, young shoemaker, producing high-quality pairs for Malaysian men and women.

“I think it all started with a girlfriend of mine. She couldn’t find heeled shoes that suited her feet. So I promised her that one day, I would make a pair of shoes for her. From that point on, I began observing shoes, especially in movies. If the heel was beautiful, I wanted to design something like that. After much soul-searching, I contacted the Malaysian Footwear Association who referred me to SHRDC and it began from there,” he shares.

 Ka Hin recalled that it was initially challenging for him as he didn’t have any prior background or experience unlike many of his classmates. But with the help of his lecturer, he persevered and his ability began to emerge.

“It was difficult but I remember my lecturer’s words during my first day at class. She was friendly, put me at ease and reminded me that as long as I was creative and wanted to succeed, I could do it; that really inspired me,” he recalls.

Over the next five months, Ka Hin focused on diligently learning his craft and began to improve. While he personally enjoyed the time at SHRDC, it was during his practical stint that he felt he really honed his ability.

“The internship left a lasting impression on me. In the working environment, watching the tukang or sifus, we learnt about the slight adjustments you need to make that can change the quality of the final product. Sometimes, things are done differently and knowing these techniques can make the difference between a novice and master shoemaker.” he mentioned.

The knowledge gained from both SHRDC and his practical internship helped Ka Hin do the impossible – clinch first place in the internal shoemaking competition. It was an amazing feat as never did someone without any prior experience win before.

“Overall, the whole 10 months was a fantastic experience. People were friendly and supportive. Classes are from Monday to Friday during working hours, leaving the weekend free for trips and activities. Our batch even organized a trip to Penang! I made friends here as well as gained knowledge with the government paying for my education,” he added.

Ka Hin is grateful to the government and SHRDC for the opportunity to pursue his dreams. “Without this course, I probably wouldn’t have got involved and missed my chance in life. I just can’t bear to think that my talent would have been wasted,” he explained.



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