Sime Darby Young Innovators Challenge returns for its fourth edition
Team Life Saviours from SMK Lembah Bidong Setiu was present at the SDYIC 2019 launch to present their prototype of an automatic fire detection system to prevent families from being trapped in their homes. The team clinched the 3rd prize at the SDYIC 2017 National Championship.

Innovation challenge complements governmental initiatives on youth talent development

Kuala Terengganu, 1 April 2019 – The Sime Darby Young Innovators Challenge (SDYIC) is set to return this year with more participation of secondary schools from rural areas, providing a platform for students to hone skills that are crucial for the fourth industrial revolution. 

YSD Chief Executive Officer Yatela Zainal Abidin said the SDYIC2019 provides a crucial opportunity for students from secondary schools across Malaysia to learn coding and software, design and creative thinking, leadership as well as entrepreneurial skills.

“Since its inception in 2016, the SDYIC programme has trained almost 6,000 secondary school students to develop highly relevant and much in demand skills for the workforce of the near future,” she said, adding schools from Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu and Melaka will be participating in the programme this year. 

The SDYIC2019 was launched at Pusat Sains dan Kreativiti Terengganu, in partnership with the science centre and Universiti Malaysia Terengganu. It was the first time the SDYIC programme was launched in a state outside of the Klang Valley, and will be held in other participating states in the future.

The launch coincided with the first Train the Trainers programme, a two-day workshop to train teachers in coding, which was held at the science centre. 

Yatela said the SDYIC programme complements governmental efforts geared towards talent development in the country. 

“Indeed, major shifts are already taking place and we recognise the need for our youths to possess both hard and soft skills that will give them a competitive edge in the labour market in line with the fourth industrial revolution,” she said. 

“We hope to see even more winners like team Mykroscope from Sekolah Agama Menengah Jeram who clinched the top prize in the 2017 national competition with their invention of a portable and affordable microscope, addressing the challenge faced by many schools which do not have enough microscopes for students. An improved, scaled-up version of the invention was distributed for free to almost 200 schools last year.

“What makes the SDYIC programme special is that it is also about the mentors who provide the participants with technical and moral support throughout their journey. The programme provides the relevant hard and soft skills to undergraduate students who volunteer as mentors, as well as to school teachers who will be able to continue guiding secondary school students even after the conclusion of the programme. This will hopefully lead towards the inculcation of an innovative culture in schools,” she added.

The SDYIC aims to promote the cultivation of an innovative mindset among youth between 13 and 17 years old in Malaysia. The students will produce workable prototypes and actionable innovative solutions in the areas of food and agriculture; automotive and mobility; healthcare; home and shelter; heavy equipment and machinery as well as retail and customer service. 

This YSD flagship programme has also trained 584 undergraduate students and 358 school teachers as innovation mentors, in collaboration with state education departments and partnering universities. 

Last year, teams from Sarawak clinched the top 3 prizes with their winning ideas of a baby car seat to prevent infant deaths after being left in vehicles, a device to alert students when their parents are nearby to pick them up from school to prevent traffic build-up and a prototype to clear rubbish from clogged drains to prevent flash floods. 

The innovation challenge is co-organised by YSD, social business start-up Chumbaka Sdn Bhd in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and supporting partners for the YIC hosting state-level competitions such as Tabung Ekonomi Gagasan Anak Sarawak, Sarawak Multimedia Authority, Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Research Sarawak, Hap Seng Group in Sabah, Yayasan Hasanah in Perlis and partnering universities as well as Teach for Malaysia. 

Chumbaka Sdn Bhd Principal Consultant Dr Chew Yen Seng said that SDYIC provides students with the opportunity to explore technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) while producing solutions for the benefit of Sime Darby companies’ operations, which are fast becoming prevalent in this era of the fourth industrial revolution. 

“By implementing a human-centric approach to using technology to solve real-life problems, SDYIC catalyses the students’ creativity and life skills, giving them an edge to thrive in the future,” he added.

With a total of 16 universities involved this year, about 250 undergraduate students will serve as mentors to participants from secondary schools. A total of 250 teachers from 250 secondary schools will also be trained to use the Arduino software during the Train the Trainers programme. 

Out of the total number of participating teams, 15 teams will be selected by a panel of judges to participate in the SDYIC 2019 National Workshop to take place from 17 to 19 November 2019. 

Participants will have the opportunity to meet industry experts, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) professionals and other enthusiasts in the field of innovative technology who will provide knowledge, solutions, information on market validation and entrepreneurial skills to the students during the camp.
Subsequently, the teams will compete for the top three prizes at the SDYIC 2019 National Championship on 20 November 2019.

The winning team of the SDYIC National Championship stands to win an innovation grant to enhance their prototype and a regional educational visit on all things STEM and innovation.   

Under the Education pillar, YSD to date has awarded scholarships worth RM268 million to 3,786 deserving and needy students both in and outside Malaysia. This is in addition to funding amounting to more than RM31.8 million towards research and public advocacy on education development as well as initiatives which aim to reduce gaps in access to quality education between urban and rural societies and improve access to basic education for the marginalised.

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Last Updated:
03 Apr 2019
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