There are plans to make Labuan Shipyard and Engineering (LSE) in Malaysia a world-class facility with the capability for ship repairs and, more importantly - shipbuilding, within two years. The first step is to train 300 apprentice engineers and an additional 50 skilled engineers from Malaysia in Scotland. BAE Systems Surface Fleet Solutions (SSFS) will conduct the training together with six other partners including the Malaysian Government and LSE. BAE have supported LSE in a number of initiatives, including an apprenticeship programme in Malaysia and recruited 61 graduates since 2001 across all disciplines.
The programme has been considered successful in terms of recruitment. Writing, speaking, listening and knowing technical terminology are vital steps towards making Malaysia an international site for shipbuilding and repairs. Local graduates should also complement their vocational skills with a formal academic qualification to an internationally recognised standard - National Certificate in Engineering.
Production of two frigates that Malaysia is buying from BAE will only commence after the signing of the contract and it will take another 12 months for the steel pieces to be burnt, cut and shaped. By that time, Malaysia should have attained the standard and equipment for shipbuilding and will be capable of putting the frigates together.