KUALA LUMPUR: Education is not to be trifled with, as knowledge is key to unlocking opportunities and creating agents of change.
As such, a year after Petronas was established in 1974, it implemented the Petronas Education Sponsorship Programme (PESP) to invest in education and human capital development.
With the tagline Learners Today, Leaders Tomorrow, PESP aims to contribute to the development of talents by creating a skilled workforce that can support the future needs of the nation, industry and Petronas.
Under PESP, SPM school-leavers are fully sponsored to pursue their tertiary education in various disciplines at world-class learning institutions around the globe.
“Petronas believes that empowering communities with quality education will enable them to improve their living standards and prepare them for future challenges,” said Petronas president and group CEO Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin.
Wan Zulkiflee exemplifies this initiative. Since completing his degree in South Australia, he has worked with Petronas and risen through the ranks to be where he is today.
To date, Petronas has invested more than RM3.2bil in PESP, which benefited over 36,000 recipients.
This year, 330 students were awarded with sponsorship worth RM134mil. Presentation ceremonies were held in Sarawak, Sabah, Terengganu and at Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP) in Seri Iskandar, Perak.
Last Saturday at UTP, 18-year-old Cha Zhi Qing from Muar, Johor, said that without the Petronas sponsorship, she would not have been able to study Actuarial Science overseas.
“Once I graduate from the US, I want to work in Petronas and contribute to the company’s growth,” said Cha whose father is a chicken farmer and mother a housewife.
Fellow Johorian Siti Aishah Mohamad Zahir, who will be studying accounting, thanked her mother for raising her and two siblings single-handedly after her father’s passing.
“I wish to also thank Petronas for enabling us to pursue our education in various fields and the chance to further develop our potential,” said the 18-year-old.
Sarawakian Fraser Sii, 18, wants to make his family and teachers back home in Kapit proud.
“Nothing is impossible because the only limit is yourself. And don’t let failures put you down but improve from them,” said Sii who aspires to be a mechanical engineer.
The three students were among 210 recipients at UTP who received sponsorship awards from guest-of-honour Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik.
Dr Maszlee urged the recipients to come out of their comfort zone, do things unconventionally to bring about change, have trust in themselves and adopt a winner’s mentality.
“If you don’t leave your comfort zone, you’ll never know what you’re capable of and reach your maximum potential,” he said.
Dr Maszlee said his ministry is committed to inculcating a new culture in education as it should be something that is fun, not burdensome.
He said while students need to take education seriously, they should not stress themselves out to the point where their health is affected.
This year, Petronas received over 8,000 applications for PESP. Aside from the prerequisite excellent academic results, applicants were evaluated and assessed on their leadership skills and ability to work in a team.
Petronas Group Human Resource Management senior vice-president Datuk Raiha Azni Abd Rahman said the company also looked at the applicant’s involvement in co-curriculum activities.
“Candidates are assessed on their potential, thought process, and their ability to cope and be independent, especially since they are going to study abroad. And more importantly, priority is given to those coming from less fortunate backgrounds,” she said.
Source: The Star Online