MoU to create social media-savvy interns

Big plans: (From left) Tio showing Prof Shatar the view from atop the company’s office after signing the MoU that will see UPSI students do a six-month internship at the logistic company.

A MAJOR logistics company is opening its doors to interns, not for logistics but to join its social media and digital teams.

Beginning July next year, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI) Faculty of Languages and Communications students will intern at PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd (PKT Logistics) under its Graduate Employability programme.

The logistics company signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the varsity allowing both to cooperate on nurturing workforce-ready graduates.

The programme will begin with an intake of 20 students from the faculty, and exposing them to working in the company’s social media department and various e-commerce driven entities.

PKT Logistics group chief executive and managing director Datuk Michael Tio said the aim is to upskill these students and arm them with the necessary digital skills to succeed when they graduate.

Describing PKT as “a social media-savvy logistics company”, he said social media is the way forward.

“Having a website is not enough for exposure anymore,” he added.

The company’s Facebook page has over 100,000 followers while Tio has more than one million on his page. The exposure the company has gained through social media, especially for its corporate social responsibility activities, has also helped PKT connect with other companies.

Tio said the interns will not be making coffee or copies of documents.

“If you look into what these students study, they are very well-versed in social media.

“So, they will be creating content for Peninsula College (wholly owned by PKT Logistics), creating viral videos and posting them on our social media platforms.”

He added that the interns will also have to monitor the posts to gauge public reaction and work on ways to improve the social media reach. Tio said the logistics company also wants to address the high number of unemployed graduates in the market.

So after the completion of the six-month training and internship programme, the company will be looking to employ at least half of these interns, based on their performance.

Tio, who is also the Malaysian Book of Records chief executive officer, said that the graduates will also stand a chance to be employed by the body as they move from the traditional print medium to an online platform.

He said the idea of collaborating with UPSI came about after he looked into the courses — specifically those involving social media — offered by UPSI’s Faculty of Languages and Communications.

He added that Covid-19 has transformed the way a lot of companies do businesses.

“Many had to move online and when you are doing business online, you need to do social media marketing,” he d, adding that the experience gained through the internship will also pave the way for these graduates to be employed in other companies.

However, Tio said it is better for these graduates to look for jobs in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) if they choose not to continue working at the company.

“We hope to help the ‘Mak Cik Kiahs’ out there to do business through social media marketing,” he said, adding that it is these smaller businesses that need these graduates’ expertise more.

“I hope more industries will open up for collaboration with public universities and help to prepare our graduates for the job market,” he added.

During the signing ceremony, UPSI vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Mohammad Shatar advised those who will undergo the internship to pick up the good traits practised at the company.

“Private companies are changing every day. They have no choice but to evolve to survive,” he said, adding that the future interns must “absorb as much as possible” during their internship.

He stressed that what they will learn during the internship will be very different from what they studied at varsity.

Prof Shatar said it is important that all graduates make themselves marketable by picking up skills such as communication and teamwork, through the internship.

He said both academia and the private sector can benefit by learning from each other through this strategic cooperation.

Recently appointed UPSI Faculty of Languages and Communication adjunct professor for a two-year term ending June 30, 2022, Tio will be sharing his social media marketing knowledge and e-commerce experience with students from the faculty.