The Paper Chase

A good read for undergraduate students.

(From left) Hema Ganesan, Dr. Seetha Nesaratnam and Sarah Ashikin Mohamad Hedzir. NSTP/ AZIAH AZMEE

LEAVE formal education in Malaysia these days and you find yourself swept into the path of a tornado —a vortex of skills disparity, mismatched expectations — that occurs even in a buoyant recruitment field.

The adage “Study hard, get a degree and your life will only get better” doesn’t quite ring true for thousands of graduates struggling to eke out a living, having spent at least four years in university buried in books. Right now, it’s almost impossible to shelter from the maelstrom.

In Malaysia, one in five young people is jobless. According to Bank Negara Malaysia (2017) in its Policy Outlook report, graduate unemployability in this country is a rising concern as graduates represent a whopping 23 per cent of total youth unemployment in the country.

For Dr Seetha Nesaratnam, former lecturer and soft-skills trainer, the hard truth is obvious— being a university graduate no longer guarantees you a future that you envisioned for yourself. Getting a paper qualification doesn’t necessarily get you a job. And for Nesaratnam, she soon realised why.

In the bustling street of Little India, two young workers greeted Nesaratnam as she entered a jewellery shop. Striking a conversation with them, she asked whether they were students.

To her surprise, they answered: “No miss, we’re graduates.” She eventually discovered that they had trouble securing jobs befitting their education level.

“As I was speaking to them, I began to understand why these perfectly capable graduates who spent years and hard earned money studying for their degrees could not secure a job befitting their qualifications,” she recalls of her experience. It shocked her, she admits.

Graduates need more than just great results to obtain employment.

This incident, coupled with her growing concern that her own students, whom she was lecturing at a local university, would not be able to secure the jobs they were qualified for, resulted in a five year research study exploring graduate employability and their work-readiness from the perspective of employers and graduates.

Her study, Graduate Employability Model : A Malaysian Perspective, explores the issues pertaining to graduate unemployability in the country.

“When I started teaching in 2008, I had all types of students who walked through the corridors of the universities and into my classes,” she shares, adding: “I developed close relationships with them even after they graduated. I soon discovered that those who demonstrated leadership, exuded confidence, and took part in extracurricular activities including taking over projects and initiating discussions, were the ones who managed to secure good jobs. I had students who were bookworms, scoring high marks in their final exams… they simply couldn’t do the same.”


The 49-year-old admits that her study wasn’t easy. “It was a challenge because of the methodology that I used. Most researchers would be satisfied with survey data, using statistical analysis tools to obtain results. I used that, and included qualitative data as well. I wanted to speak to the relevant people — employers, hirers and those handling young graduates. I wanted to find out the problems so I couldn’t simply rely on surveys alone.”

It took Nesaratnam five years to complete her study. And the results, she says, are eye-opening and true to what she realised when she spoke to the two workers at the jewellery shop a few years ago.

“I interviewed both graduates and employers, and soon realised that there was a growing mismatch of expectations from both parties when it came to securing a job.”

Her in-depth interviews with both employers and students led to her preliminary findings of a disparity between expectations, before she decided to embark on a research into this pertinent issue facing the country today.

Significant numbers of university leavers, she says, struggle to find graduate-level work, often because they do not understand what employers want. “You cannot simply rely on a degree alone to get a good job,” she reiterates.

Most employers are searching for evidence of skills such as communication, teamwork, leadership, time management.

Soft skills — sometimes known in work-speak as “employability skills” — are becoming increasingly important to graduate recruiters sifting through the CVs of a growing pool of similar-looking applicants, according to experts.

While hard skills refer to things such as academic qualifications, soft skills include communication ability, team-working, time management, problem-solving and attitude to work.

“There’s a dearth of soft skills in students. Most employers are searching for evidence of skills such as communication, teamwork, leadership, time management. These are referred to as ‘soft skills’ and they’ve never been more vital,” she says.

An international report cited that 62 per cent of business organisations in Malaysia mulled over the difficulty of hiring right skilled employees due to the shortage of general employability skills, particularly teamwork, communication in English, setting Malaysia as the highest in the Asean region.

Her research further showed that while employers prioritised communication, graduates viewed communication as the least essential element.

However, as for leadership qualities, graduates highlighted it as the most critical skill to have. Meanwhile, the employers took a contrasting viewpoint; that they can be trained to be leaders during their tenure of employment.

“In the case of the two young ladies I met in Little India, it was evident that they had difficulty in communicating in English. Ready or not, English is now the global language of business. More and more multinational companies are mandating English as the common corporate language in an attempt to facilitate communication and performance across geographically diverse functions and business endeavours,” she explains, adding emphatically: “If our graduates are let down by their own inability to communicate in this language, then what can we do to address this problem?”


Dr. Seetha Nesaratnam. NSTP/ AZIAH AZMEE

For Nesaratnam, addressing the issues pertaining to soft-skills was something she undertook in addition to her role as a lecturer in a local university. “I’ve always emphasised soft-skills, long before I embarked on my study,” she confides, smiling.

It’s often said that outstanding lecturers or teachers demonstrate deep knowledge and understanding of their subjects. Although passion is inspiring, a deep knowledge and understanding of their students are just as important.

Her research is an extension of her on the-ground experiences garnered during her years as a lecturer at a local university, she tells me. “Those in the teaching profession must have a well-developed pastoral duty. As trusted adults, young people approach them with concerns and dilemmas, many of which relate to future aspirations. We have an obligation to work through these issues with young people in ways that help keep their sights on the bigger picture, and not just have a myopic view on their studies alone,” explains Nesaratnam.

While teaching, the disparity between scholarly achievements and soft skills wasn’t lost on her. “It goes back to back ground and upbringing. Middle class and upper middle class families do invest in their children’s soft-skill learnings like leadership and communication. These students fare better in the employment market later in life,” she says.

The others who don’t have these opportunities are disadvantaged, although they’re hardworking in class. “They did well in class but once they graduated, most, from my observations, didn’t do so well,” she laments. So Nesaratnam created a programme within the university called Professional Development and she taught it herself.

The programme covered elements such as self-confidence, communication skills and leadership — all of which, she attests, are non-negotiable attributes needed once a graduate enters the employment market. “I made it an elective course. I encouraged my students to take the course, and those who did received extra credits for their efforts,” she recalls.

The results were startling. Elaborates Nesaratnam: “I handpicked the students who needed the programme and I targeted those who struggled with confidence and poor communication skills. These are really good students who were hardworking but lacked the proper guidance in self development.”

As Nesaratnam’s former students, Hema Ganesan and Sarah Ashikin Mohamad Hedzir, would attest, the programme made a difference to them.

Hema Ganesan bloomed during her personal development programme.

“I bloomed during my university days. Miss Seetha taught me to focus not just on my studies but also to build up other aspects of my personal development like communication, presentation and management skills. While my paper qualification was a step in the right direction, the other skills helped me secure employment right after my graduation,” shares Ganesan, who is currently a HR manager with a multinational company.

Sarah Ashikin Mohamad Hedzir learnt valuable tips on presentation skills which helped her secure a job after graduation.

Assistant manager Sarah Ashikin agrees vehemently. “I still remember the presentation class that Miss Seetha taught — the gestures, how to make eye-contact and voice intonation. I followed those tips during my interview!” she recalls with a hearty laugh.

“Some of my friends and relatives obtained fantastic results but most of them have been unemployed for several months before finally getting a job. I realised that they didn’t acquire any soft-skill training at all. They just focused on their studies. I’m really grateful to have undergone some form of education in this aspect and I’ve had no issues securing a job right after my graduation.”


The camaraderie between the former lecturer and her ex-students is evident. Nesaratnam tells me with a laugh that she’s in touch with most of her students and follows their progress with a lot of pride.

Dr. Seetha says her father remains one of greatest inspirations.

“Teaching has always been in my blood,” she reveals, attributing her passion in the profession to her late father, a World War II veteran who became a teacher after the war ended.

An English and Math teacher in the first English school in Malaya — the illustrious Clifford School in Kuala Kangsar — her father was keen on promoting extra-curricular activities and even produced Shakespearean plays.

“My father was a firm believer in an all rounded student. He emphasised that a person should be able to speak well, carry themselves well and write well. Unwittingly, he was one of those teachers who championed these additional attributes that are so important in the employment market today,” she says wistfully.

What advice would you give to university students today? I ask.

A pause and she eventually replies: “Take your university education seriously. It’s still the one that gets you that interview. But what will ultimately stand out are the other qualities. As important as it is to focus on the grades, it’s also important for a student to work on their other skills — that will make you stand out in an interview.”

She tells me of her student who was asked in an interview to give a presentation within 15 minutes. The student called her in panic, asking: “Miss, what do I do?” She told her student to use the same presentation she did during her Professional Development class. And she did. “She got the job!” says Nesaratnam, smiling.

For Nesaratnam, championing soft skills seems like an inherent trait she received from her father. “As an educator, I will never measure up to him,” she says softly, before sharing that when her father had an expensive surgery a few years ago, it was his former students (who were by then, in their seventies) who footed the entire bill.

“My father was already 94. Decades later, they still call him ‘Master’.” A pause and she concludes, her eyes glistening: “If I can achieve at least half of what he’s done for his students, I will be a very happy woman.”

7 Perkara Menarik Boleh Dilakukan oleh Pelajar Universiti Sewaktu Cuti Semester

7 Perkara Menarik Boleh Dilakukan Oleh Pelajar Universiti Sewaktu Cuti Semester

zsharer membaca buku 7 – Hidup Penuh Erti


Ada satu bab di dalam buku ini yang mengusik hati zsharer iaitu dari bab 30 hasil perkongsian dari Hilal Asyraf seorang anak jati Johor (Luaskan Kuasamu Johor!) yang banyak menulis buku tentang bergenre novel Islamik, buku motivasi dan kumpulan cerpen tarbawi. Diharap Hilal tidak menyaman zsharer kerana zsharer rasa bab ini memang patut sampai kepada muslimin dan muslimat yang berusia lebih daripada 40-an. Disini zsharer ringkaskan sedikit hasil penulisan beliau dan ditokok ditambah sesedap rasa zsharer sendiri.

Bab 30

40-an, 50-an yang dalam Kesedihan

Tahukah kita akan berada di akhirat berapa lama? Tentulah selama-lamanya. Tahukan kita berapa lama kita akan hidup di dunia ini? 80 tahun? 70 tahun? 60 tahun? 80 tahun biasanya kita boleh hidup dan jika lebih daripada itu, itu adalah bonus kiranya.

Ayah dan mak zsharer meninggal dunia tatkala usia 63 dan 75 tahun. Dan baru-baru ini zsharer agak terkesima apabila mendapat berita adik kepada salah seorang rakan karib yang baru berusia 37 tahun telah meninggal dunia selepas melahirkan anak yang ke 4. Kita semua tidak tahu di usia manakah dan masa bilakah kita akan di panggil menghadap ilahi tetapi kita tahu kita ada masa sekarang untuk memilih sama ada mahu memilih hidup yang bagaimana pada hari akhirat nanti.

Apabila kita bandingkan selama-lamanya di akhirat dengan 80 tahun di dunia dimanakah harga 80 tahun yang kita lalui? Ya. Tiada harga, kerana 80 tahun akan lesap  dimamah selama-lamanya.

Sekiranya kita memilih untuk hidup dalam 80 tahun yang penuh susah payah, kemudian di anugerahkan syurga abadi, kita akan rasa betapa susah payah 80 tahun itu langsung tidak ada apa-apa makna dengan nikmat syurga yang kekal abadi. Kita akn merasa lega, kita memilih untuk bersusah payah menjadi hamba ilahi yang baik selama 80 tahun.

Sekiranya kita memilih untuk hidup dalam 80 tahun yang penuh dengan senang lenang kera tidak mentaati Allah s.w.t., tidak perlu hidup dalam peraturan, kita buat apa kita suka, kita akan rasa betapa ruginya kita bersenang lenang 80 tahun itu, apabila dibalas dengan neraka yang kekal abadi. Kita akan menyesal, kita memilih untuk melupakan Allah, ingkar kepada suruhan, merasakan peraturan Islam itu payah dan sukar lantas memilih untuk menderhakai-Nya selama 80 tahun, dibalas dengan azab neraka membuatkan kita tahu betapa tak bermaknanya kehidupan di dunia selama 80 tahun yang penuh dengan senang lenang itu.

Menjadikan Umur Kita Umur Bermakna

Umur adalah perkara yang tidak akan kembali. (Demi masa, sesungguhnya manusia itu dalam kerugian, Surah Al-Asr). Maka adalah patut kita semua melihat semula apa yang kita sudah gunakan, akan gunakan dengan masa kita. Ataupun kita jenis yang tidak peduli, asal duit masuk poket, asal ada rumah besar, asal dapat ketawa, asal dapat menghiburkan hati semata-mata? Kemudian, pada umur 40-an, 50-an kita akan terpaku dengan penyesalan. Apakah yang aku sudah lakukan selama ini?

Sejak Muda Memahami Realiti, Sejak Muda Punya Strategi

Saya sendiri tidak mahu menjadi manusia yang berumur 40-an, 50-an dan 60-an, yang kemudian dalam kesedihan dan penyesalan yang mengunung. Sekiranya saya merenung kembali tatkala umur 24 tahun yang telah berlalu saya tidak dapat menanggung rasa kesedihan apatah lagi hendak melihat 40 tahun, 50 tahun, 60 tahun yang disia-siakan.

Maka saya memilih untuk tidak menjadi seorang tua yang tenggelam dalam penyesalan dan kesedihan. Lebih buruk lagi, orang tua yang langsung tidak punya penyesalan walaupun hidupnya yang disia-siakan.

Saya mahu memilih menjadi seorang tua yang riang dengan kehidupan yang dialaminya. Bukan kerana kehidupanya senang lenang, tetapi kerana dia berpuas dengan mengharungi segala cabaran dan dugaan yang ada, disebabkan pada umurnya 40-an, 50-an, 60-an, dia sudah punya banyak aset kebaikan yang besar, yang boleh dibawa pulang untuk bertemu dengan Tuhannya. Projek-projek kebajikan yang disertai, ilmu-ilmu yang telah ditulis untuk perkongsian kepada masyarakat dan banyak menyumbang untuk membangunkan masyarakat kepada masyarakat yang sedar dan bijak akan makna kehidupan yang sebenarnya.

Saya mahu menjadi orang tua itu.

Maka sejak kita mudalah perlu disuntik dengan realiti ini untuk menjadikan ia sebuah impian dan cita-cita.

Sejak mudalah kita perlu belajar melaksanakan kerja secara berstrategi bukan ikut suka semata-mata.

Sejak mudalah kita perlu mendidik diri agar mampu berkerja berkumpulan dan belajar bagaimana mempertingkatkan pula orang lain agar mampu bergerak bersama-sama kita.

Umur, Biar Bermakna

Umur ini biarlah bermakna. Jangan apabila sudah berlalu pergi, baru kita mahu rasa segalanya sia-sia. Menyesal nanti tidak bermakna kerana umur tidak akan kembali kepada kita.

Sejak muda jadilah orang yang punya perancangan yang jelas dan belajarlah menjadi orang yang kerap bermuhasabah. Jangan suka bergerak sendiri, tetapi bergaullah dengan orang-orang soleh dan baik serta mencari rakan yang mampu bersama kita dalam melakukan perubahan dan peningkatan yang lebih baik seterusnya.

Kita patut menyucikan diri daripada menghabiskan masa dengan dosa. Kita jauhkan diri daripada sibuk melakukan kerja yang sia-sia. Biarlah sejak muda kita didik diri untuk menghabiskan masa dengan gerak kerja yang berkualiti, dnegan amal-amal yang dikira Ilahi.

Pastikan jangan kita menjadi seorang tua yang penuh dengan penyesalan nanti.

zsharer berasa segan kerana Hilal baru berusia 20-an tapi beliau telah menghasilkan lebih dari 20 buku. Sebagai seorang yang terlibat dalam dunia pendidikan zsharer berasa terpanggil untuk memulakan penulisan buku ilmiah yang dapat di manfaatkan oleh masyarakat terutamanya belia yang mahu berkecimpung dalam dunia kejuruteraan. Terima Kasih Hilal kerana memberi inspirasi kepada zsharer untuk mula cuba berkarya dalam bentuk penulisan buku. zsharer berasa sangatlah rugi masa yang ada jika zsharer sebagai seorang pendidik tidak menghasilkan karya dalam bentuk penulisan buku setelah lebih 15 tahun bertugas sebagai pendidik di IPT.

Bak kata Awang Sariyan dalam buku beliau yang betajuk ‘Tertib Mengarang’  menulis adalah satu keperluan dan tanggungjawab yang besar. Penglibatan kita dalam penulisan memerlukan penguasaan ilmu tentang penulisan. Penulisan tidak patut bermula dengan kerja mencuba-cuba. Kemahiran menulis patut dianggap kemestian dalam bidang profesional apa sekalipun. Oleh sebab itu, perlu kita pelajari kaedah menulis atau mengarang secara tertib supaya kita dapat menghasilkan tulisan yang berkesan dan seterusnya memberikan faedah kepada masyarakat.

Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka ada menganjurkan kursus yang berkaitan dengan penulisan. Boleh refer disini untuk maklumat lanjut.

Kursus Pemantapan Penerbitan

Keikhlasan Dalam Pekerjaan

Image result for kerja

zsharer tertarik dengan topik ini yang sangat dekat di hati setiap para pekerja yang ada di muka bumi Allah ini dan merasakan terpanggil untuk share disini. Mesej ini telah diterima dari legal team di UTM.

Siri Mesej Integriti pada kali ini ingin berkongsi berkenaan keikhlasan dalam pekerjaan. 

Menurut pentafsiran secara bahasa, ikhlas bermakna bersih dari kotoran dan menjadikan sesuatu bersih tidak kotor. Sedangkan secara istilah, ikhlas bererti niat dengan mengharap redha Allah SWT saja dalam beramal tanpa menyekutukan-Nya dengan yang lain. Manakala menurut Kamus Dewan, Edisi Keempat, ikhlas bermaksud, hati suci, tidak menipu atau tidak berpura-pura. 

Mari kita sama-sama merenung kembali (flash back) jadual seharian kita bekerja. Ada dikalangan kita telah bertugas lebih 30 tahun dan ada yang baru sebulan bekerja. Rata-rata kita mula bertugas bermula jam 8.00 pagi dan balik pada jam 5.00 petang. Jumlah jam pekerjaan kurang lebih dalam 9 jam. Pernahkah  kita bertanya kepada diri kita selama kita berkerja, adakah kerana terpaksa atau ikhlas ?

Bagi orang islam kepercayaan kepada hari akhirat(sence of the end) amat penting untuk melakukan kebaikan,tanpa mengharap balasan ketika kita bekerja dan menjalani kehidupan harian.  Sekelumit “ rahsia “ ikhlas dalam tahap kerjanya bagi setiap individu tetap sama, samada dilakukan di belakang atau di hadapan orang.

Justeru, mari kita tatapi,tiga panduan yang boleh dijadikan contoh kepada  kita sebagai pekerja iaitu SEBELUM,SEMASA DAN SELEPAS melakukan kerja seharian seperti berikut:

  1. Sebelum melakukan kerja

Sebelum berkerja, tanyalah kepada hati apakah niat kita untuk berkerja pada hari tersebut? Samada ingin mencari rezeki, membela nasib keluarga,berbakti kepada masyarakat dan lain lain. Niat perlu supaya kita dapat fokus semasa memulakan kerja dan ini adalah contoh-contoh niat yang baik. Namun begitu, niat tersebut perlu bersekali dengan niat yang lebih khusus seperti ”aku bekerja untuk mendapat rezeki yang halal kerana Allah SWT menuntutku mencari yang halal” . Perkara ini juga terpakai kepada kepercayaan agama lain, bahawa pekerjaan baik, menghasilkan hasil/rezeki yang baik. Rasulullah SAW menegaskan bahawa sebaik-baik manusia ialah manusia yang memberi manfaat kepada orang lain. Pastikan kerja itu adalah halal dan tiada unsur-unsur haram. Bagaimana menentukannya? Tepuk dada tanya selera. Anda mungkin dapat mengaburi orang lain semasa melaksanakan kerja dalam sambil lewa atau dengan baik, tetapi hakikatnya anda tidak dapat menipu diri anda sendiri. Muhasabahlah……gaji tetap diterima  hujung bulan ya ..

  1. Semasa Melakukan Kerja

Niat yang baik dan yang halal belum menjamin sesuatu pekerjaan dilakukan dengan ikhlas.Kerja akan menjadi ikhlas apabila dilaksanakan dengan cara yang terbaik(optimum). Maksud optimum ialah kita berkerja dengan penuh kemahiran yang dimiliki,berilmu dan etika yang tinggi. Inovatif dan produktif tanpa memilih hanya kerja yang ada nilai “self improvement”(ganjaran pangkat dan gaji. Malah kita patut juga giat dalam kerja – kerja yang memberi nilai peningkatan nilai murni dalam diri. Tidak terlalu berkira dengan tenaga dan masa serta senantiasa bersedia untuk melakukan kerja –kerja sukarela dan khidmat masyarakat.

  1.  Selepas Melakukan kerja

Bagaimana sikap kita di akhir perkerjaan kita? Jika ditakdir kita berjaya menyelesaikan tugas hari itu, hargai kawan-kawan sekerja yang mana membantu dan berkerjasama dalam tugas.Nafikan segala kelebihan, usaha dan tenaga kita di hadapan Tuhan, dengan merasakan semua itu tidak memberi kesan tanpa izin dan bantuan-Nya. Semoga dengan itu, hari pekerjaan kita lebih bermakna dan rezeki kelak diperolehi dirasai keberkatannya, untuk dikongsi bersama keluarga dan anak-anak.


Jika kita dapat laksanakan ketiga-tiga perkara tersebut, ia akan menghasilkan dua bentuk tamadun. Pertama tamadun rohani – wargakerja akan menjadi lebih baik akhlak dengan keperibadian yang unggul . Kedua,tamadun material yang mana diri ,majikan atau masyarakat akan memperolehi kemajuan dan pembangunan fizikal. Justeru, jangan kita berkira dengan kerja. Kita mesti sentiasa ikhlas dan bersedia berkorban untuk perkhidmatan, sebagaimana kita bersetuju  menandatanganiAku Janji pada mula-mula kita melapor diri dahulu. Ingat ya…

Semoga bermanfaat. Terima kasih dan Salam Integriti.

Moral : 

Hukama berkata : Semua manusia binasa kecuali yang berilmu, semua yang berilmu binasa kecuali yang beramal dan yang beramal pun binasa kecuali yang ikhlas.

7 Perkara Ini Anda Patut Tahu Sebelum Lanjut Pelajaran Peringkat Sarjana Kejuruteraan


Kadang-kadang saya tergelak seorang diri apabila mereka menyerahkan sebulat-bulatnya pelaburan masa selama 1-2 tahun peringkat Sarjana kepada saya. Ini adalah tidak betul dan jalan yang kurang tepat. Kalau saya jahat nak saja suruh ambil jurusan yang bukan-bukan.

Baiklah. Ini adalah contoh kenapa, mengapa saya menyambung pengajian. Mungkin anda boleh menggunakan jalan saya ini sebagai panduan. Tetapi harus beringat kita mempunyai tahap kemahiran yang berbeza jadi mungkin kurang sesuai pada sesetengah orang.

Dibawah adalah sebahagian perkara yang saya ambil kira sebelum melanjutkan pelajaran di peringkat Sarjana dan tidak terhad kepada:

1. Pemilihan jurusan

Ini adalah kriteria paling penting. Anda perlu mengetahui perancangan daripada Kerajaan jika anda bercadang hanya bekerja di Malaysia. Ini boleh dirujuk di National Transformation Programme (NTP) Malaysia.

Sebagai contoh negara masih kekurangan tenaga PAKAR di bidang ekonomi utama seperti minyak dan gas. Malaysia adalah negara membangun dan kita masih berharap kepada negara maju dalam pembelian alatan berkualiti tinggi dan tidak dibuat di sini.

Bekas CEO Malaysia Marine & Heavy Engineering (MMHE) iaitu Tuan Abu Fitri Abdul Jalil sendiri mengatakan bahawa ketika zaman kemelesetan ekonomi adalah masa terbaik untuk melanjutkan pelajaran.

2. Pemilihan universiti

Jika anda bercadang untuk berkhidmat di sektor Minyak & Gas maka hanya segelintir sahaja universiti menjadi pilihan para majikan. Sebagai contoh Top 5 adalah:

a. Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP)
b. Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM)
c. Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)
d. University Malaya (UM)
e. Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM)

Bacaan lanjutan di sini dan juga Rak Buku Ikhwan.

3. Tawaran subjek

Saya sangat menitikberatkan subjek yang ditawarkan oleh pihak universiti. Jadi saya memilih universiti yang hanya sesuai dengan perjalanan kerjaya saya kelak.

Sebagai contoh subjek Kakisan sangat penting di dalam ‘Facility Management’. Kakisan juga memerlukan perbelanjaan sekurang-kurangnya 10% daripada Keluaran Dalam Negara Kasar, KDNK (‘Gross Domestic Product, GDP’).

Ia perlu untuk menyelenggara pelantar minyak/gas yang terdedah dengan kemasinan air laut dan kelembapan yang tinggi di Malaysia. Jadi di sini UTM menjadi pilihan kerana ianya menepati dengan kehendak saya.

4. Kaedah pengajian

Pengajian secara sepenuh masa adalah lebih sesuai dengan saya kerana pengetahuan asas (fundamental) seperti bagaimana kakisan paip diambil kira menyediakan pemahaman yang asas serta menyeluruh.

Di industri hanya berdasarkan kepada formula kira-kira ringkas sahaja yang disediakan oleh American Petroleum Institute (API) dan tidak serumit pengetahuan asas kepada electrochemical iaitu bagaimana hubungan anode and cathode dan mechanism ianya berlaku.

Jika anda mempunyai pengetahuan asas yang lebih mendalam maka anda akan lebih menghargai ilmu Allah SWT yang tersangatlah luas!

Sejak melanjutkan pelajaran ini pemikiran saya lebih kearah ketuhanan walaupun saya tidak mengambil jurusan yang berkaitan dengan Pendidikan Islam.

5. Pelan kerjaya

Bidang bahan, kakisan dan pemeriksaan memang menjadi minat saya sejak bekerja dengan Dayang Enterprise Holdings Bhd (DEHB). Di sini adalah tempat segala-galanya bermula.

Saya diberikan kebebasan untuk membuat keputusan dan acapkali sebelum kata putus dicapai saya gemar menyelidik seberapa dalam agar keputusan di masa hadapan tidak datang menghantui saya lagi.

Walaupun jawatan saya hanyalah sebagai Jurutera Perpaipan dan Mekanikal di bahagian ‘Hook Up, Commissioning & Construction’ tetapi saya tidak mengehadkan pengetahuan semata-mata kepada perpaipan sahaja.

Saya gemar memerhatikan bagaimana paip dikimpal, dicat, diuji dan seterusnya sebelum berlayar untuk dipasang di atas pelantar.

6. Prospek kerjaya

Walaupun ramai di luar sana yang mengaggur tetapi cuba kita tanya semula, berapakah Jurutera yang mempunyai kelulusan Sarjana?

Berdasarkan perangkaan dari Kementerian Pendidikan Tinggi didapati ‘qualification trap’ adalah di peringkat Sarjana Muda. Jadi ini adalah masa (kemelesetan ekonomi) yang sesuai untuk kekal berdaya saing. Majikan juga memerlukan pekerja yang mempunyai pengetahuan yang khusus.

Saya perhatikan syarikat minyak antarabangsa seperti Heerema Marine Contractors memerlukan graduan berkelayakan sekurang-kurangnya Sarjana untuk jawatan Jurutera Bahan. Tiada lagi Sarjana Muda.

7. Masa

Perkara ini saya terlepas pandang. Masa adalah penting kerana untuk yang sudah berkahwin seperti saya masa adalah terhad. Pembahagian dan pengurusan masa perlu dilakukan dengan teliti.

Pengajian memerlukan anda untuk berterusan membaca bukan sahaja menghadiri kelas tetapi juga tugasan dan projek sarjana.

Ini adalah antara sebahagian perkara yang perlu anda ambil kira. Semoga berjaya!


Artikel di atas disumbangkan oleh Ikhwan Hafiz. Beliau mempunyai minat mendalam dalam bidang minyak dan gas. Boleh ikuti beliau di sini. Pautan artikel asal.

No excuse for cutting corners on corrosion downstream

June 26, 2018
By Phil Yule, Regional Business Manager, Cosasco

Corrosion is a major challenge and essential risk to contain for any oil and gas operator. Loss of containment can mean loss of process, loss of revenue, expensive repairs and – most importantly – a potentially major safety hazard. But while a breach in a cross-country pipeline can be a major incident and environmental risk, it’s another matter downstream. Different plant and processes are tightly packed together, with all manner of hydrocarbons and other combustible fluids boiling, cooling or flowing. Workers dart in-between, never more than a few dozen feet from a potential corrosion risk. In this environment, loss of containment could be catastrophic. It doesn’t take more than a quick google search to find a multitude of incidents related to corrosion control issues.

All of which is to say that, when it comes to the downstream, the stakes are higher, and corrosion control is too important to ignore. However, in conjunction with increased risk comes increased complexity: the number of different processes and the variety of different mediums and hydrocarbons entails a diverse, heterogeneous environment for monitoring. One monitoring system does not fit all, so it can be difficult for operators to avoid a pick ‘n’ mix of systems with patchwork, incomplete coverage.

So how to manage the risk? Most, if not all, refineries and petrochemical plants employ talented and knowledgeable corrosion engineers with the expertise to do so. But to do the best job, they need the best data. That in turn requires a fully integrated monitoring system – something that has historically been in short supply.

An aggressive environment

The difficulty involved in downstream corrosion monitoring can’t be underestimated. And it’s growing.

The refining industry has many elements that can contribute to increased corrosion rates. Corrosive substances can be found in the feedstock – amines, sulphuric acid as an example and often further elements can be added and produced during the refining process itself, such as oxygen, nitrogen, trace metals, salts, carbon dioxide, and naphthenic acids. Refinery processes themselves involve extreme temperatures and velocities in many of the processes including distillation, catalytic crackers, and alkylation that all contribute to elevated corrosion rates.

Not only that, but downstream operators are dealing with more than hydrocarbons. There are a variety of fluids used in different processes, many of which can be extremely corrosive themselves. Getting corrosion right, in this instance, can be the difference between profitability and throwing money away on unscheduled repairs and maintenance.

To add to this the ripple effects of the recent downturn are still being felt across the oil and gas sector. With ageing assets, extended operating windows and high demands on production rates, one technique firms adopted in order to adapt was crude blending, mixing different qualities of conventional and TAN crudes to a level that they hadn’t before. This practice makes financial sense, TAN crudes can be a third of the cost to operators compared to conventional crudes but also make corrosion less predictable and increases risk due to their higher acid content. Prices have recovered, but not to anything like previous highs, and crude blending is still common practice. If refineries are to continue to blend crudes and remain profitable they must ensure that a robust, accurate integrated corrosion monitoring system is in place.

Keeping tabs

In this environment, corrosion is unavoidable. The key is to keep tabs and effectively monitor the issue. And accuracy is key. Underestimate corrosion, and the risk of failure rears its head, along with all the safety and business risks that come with it. However, if an operator errs too much on the side of caution, they risk unnecessary maintenance downtime, premature replacement of equipment or an overzealous corrosion inhibitor programme – all potentially expensive and avoidable mistakes.

But accurate monitoring – across a diverse downstream facility – is easier said than done. Different pipework and different processes require a different approach to corrosion.

For example, one of the most tried and tested methods for corrosion monitoring is the use of a corrosion coupon. This is a small sample of metal, inserted into the flow at selected locations, which is then subject to the same corrosive factors as the pipework. At regular intervals – perhaps as often as every few months – corrosion coupons are removed and engineers measure how much of the metal has been corroded, taking that as a representation for pipeline corrosion. A corrosion coupon can also give valuable data on the type of corrosion and potential localised pitting corrosion issues. This is appropriate in many instances, but not all.

Another commonly used monitoring method is to insert electrical resistance probes inline into the pipework. These are capable of real-time monitoring and can detect changes in corrosivity within hours, making them ideal for highly changeable applications. High resolution ER probes allow operators to directly monitor levels of corrosion in their system and react quickly to process changes in a system, rather than using a coupon as a proxy. This approach is extremely effective and the only viable method to accurately monitor and control corrosion inhibitor injection programs, as it allows operators to adjust volumes injected based on live, granular data. A huge cost saving potential.

However, as with coupons, there are certain process within the downstream industry where intrusive monitoring cannot be used due to extreme process conditions. It isn’t appropriate for all applications.

That’s why, in many cases, corrosion engineers have turned to external ultrasound thickness (UT) monitoring systems that affix directly to the outside of the pipe and require neither downtime nor intrusion to install. However, by itself the approach is no silver bullet. The trade-off for these advantages is that operators have to settle for a lower level of sensitivity, resolution and accuracy. Modern ultrasonic technology has made great progress on this front, but still doesn’t match ER probes for accuracy and response times.

So, there’s no one-size-fits-all perfect solution for corrosion engineers working downstream. Likely they will have a patchwork of different systems, selecting the best option process by process, pipe by pipe. This gives the best possible corrosion monitoring performance at the individual application level, but carries its own risks at the facility-wide scale.

The holy grail for the corrosion engineering team is an overall view of corrosion risk across the facility. Understanding which equipment is suffering from near problematic corrosion levels, and which other processes are in close proximity, helps give a more accurate gauge of overall risk to the operator and personnel. Similarly, understanding if one process is due downtime for corrective maintenance helps operators plan more effectively. For example, if one process has knock-on effects on another, it may best to schedule maintenance for both at the same time even if one isn’t quite at its corrosion limits, rather than have to shut down a second time a couple of months down the line.

The only way for corrosion engineers and operators to effectively monitor plant wide is through assimilating those disparate systems into one broader integrated system, incorporating corrosion coupon, ER probe and UT devices together feeding the data back into a central platform to give a holistic, facility-wide view of risk. Corrosion engineers are then empowered to make the most informed decisions, guarding safety while maximising asset profitability. In the past, this might have been a pipe dream. However, companies like Cosasco now have decades of accumulated experience with these individual technologies and have invested in platforms to bring them together in a fully integrated way.

So, for corrosion engineers at refineries and petrochemical plants, there’s really no excuse not to implement an integrated, multi-pronged corrosion monitoring strategy. No excuse because the risks to safety and revenue are too high to ignore, and no excuse because the technological limitations that may have once hampered such a programme are no longer insurmountable. A modern system utilises intrusive electrical resistance probes and state of the art, high accuracy non-intrusive ultrasonic ones. Feeding that data back into a central view of risk, is the logical next step in keeping the downstream sector safe and profitable.


Construction Concerns: Galvanic Corrosion

Fire Engineering

Article and photos by Greg Havel

“Galvanic corrosion” is damage caused when two dissimilar metals are joined in the presence of an electrolyte. The electrolyte can be one of many liquids, including plain water, acids, sea water, or salt water. When the two metals are joined in the presence of the electrolyte, one becomes the anode and corrodes faster than it would by itself. The other metal becomes the cathode and corrodes more slowly than it would by itself.

This action, the basis for wet-cell and gel-cell batteries, was first demonstrated by Alessandro Volta in 1800.

This action is also the basis for the sacrificial corrosion of one metal to protect another by use of sacrificial anodes or cathodic protection. This sacrificial corrosion is used in the protection of underground steel tanks and steel pipelines, boilers, and water-heating appliances, using magnesium or aluminum sacrificial anodes. This action was first demonstrated by Sir Humphry Davy and Michael Faraday a few years later.

A small electrical current flows between two dissimilar metals in contact in a conductive or corrosive environment. This current flow results in the increased corrosion of the least corrosion-resistant (most active) metal and in the decreased corrosion of the more corrosion-resistant (most inactive) metal. The least corrosion-resistant metal is gradually destroyed by this process, causing weakness and eventually failure of the metal.

The Galvanic Table

The Galvanic Table lists metals in order from the most active (Anodic, or most easily corroded) to the least active (Cathodic, or least easily corroded, or “noble”). This excerpt from one of these tables, based on sea water as the electrolyte, lists some of these metals:

Note: Monel is a nickel-copper alloy that also contains small amounts of iron, manganese, carbon, and silicon; with high tensile strength and resistance to corrosion.

The rate of corrosion is related to the distance between the metals in the Galvanic Table. Metals farther apart in the table will corrode more rapidly than metals that are adjacent to each other. Due to their relative positions on the galvanic table, aluminum is more easily corroded than steel when they are in contact with each other. The rate of corrosion of the aluminum will be increased in the presence of a corrosive electrolyte like road salt, whereas the corrosion of the steel will be reduced or stopped.

Galvanic corrosion does not always occur while the metals are submerged in a conductive or corrosive liquid. It can also take place in the atmosphere, where the rate of corrosion is dependent on the amount of moisture and oxygen present, the conductivity of the connection between the metals, and the temperature. This can explain why corrosion continues from exposure to salt of an aluminum-body fire apparatus even during a dry summer. If some salt remains in contact with both the steel and aluminum, and if the steel and aluminum are in contact with each other, the corrosion continues.

The corrosion rate of dissimilar metals also depends on the amount of each metal present at the connection. Aluminum rivets or screws will corrode quickly when used to join steel panels to steel frames, causing rapid failure of the connectors. Aluminum panels will corrode quickly when connected to steel frames with steel screws or rivets, causing rapid failure of the panels at the connections.

Manufacturers and materials engineers consider these points when joining dissimilar metals:

  • Avoid placing a small amount of an active metal in contact with a large amount of an inactive metal.
  • When connecting two pieces of the same metal, use fasteners of the same metal.
  • When the metals being connected are structural or load-bearing, use fasteners of the proper grade and strength, with the proper coatings to reduce the potential for corrosion.
  • When fasteners are not available of the same material as the metals being fastened, use fasteners of a material as close as possible to the material being fastened in the galvanic corrosion chart.

These points apply to buildings and structures as they do to vehicles and fire apparatus. If galvanic corrosion is not prevented during the construction of a building, its structural components or fasteners may fail early in the building’s life. One common challenge in building high-rises is the connection of an aluminum-framed glass curtain wall to structural steel framing.

When dissimilar metals must be in contact, a non-porous insulator must be used between them. Examples of this include the hard plastic strips that are often installed between steel truck frames and aluminum truck bodies; and like the non-compressible plastic tapes that are installed between steel or stainless steel door hardware and aluminum compartment doors. All surfaces of both metals must be primed and painted. This is especially important for the more active metal, like the aluminum body of a fire apparatus with a steel frame.

Galvanic corrosion can also explain some of the electrical problems that occur during the 20 to 30-year life of a fire apparatus, especially when the apparatus’ aluminum body is joined to a steel chassis. In the past, the aluminum apparatus body was electrically bonded (grounded) by copper wires to the steel chassis to complete the circuit for lights, warning lights, sirens, and other equipment. Steel is more active in corrosion than copper; and aluminum is more active than steel. The corrosion at both ends of the copper ground wires loosened connections and increased resistance to current flow. The corrosion products are also less conductive than the metals on which they are based. Either of these related conditions resulted in electrical malfunctions.

Modern vehicles and fire apparatus are equipped with two-wire circuits for each light, siren, or other accessory; and no longer depend on chassis and frame bonding to complete electric circuits. However, there are still many older fire apparatus that depend on this older bonding method for the operation of lights and accessories.

Galvanic corrosion follows the laws of physics and chemistry. We cannot assume that we or our project are so special that these natural laws will be suspended. If we do so, we, or our fire apparatus, or our building under construction, will develop problems that will be difficult to remedy. Problems caused by galvanic corrosion probably will not show themselves until after the project is complete and the warranties have expired.

For a more complete discussion of this topic, search the Internet for “galvanic corrosion” and “galvanic table.”

Download this article as a PDF HERE

 (212 KB).Greg HavelGregory Havel is a member of the Town of Burlington (WI) Fire Department; retired deputy chief and training officer; and a 35-year veteran of the fire service. He is a Wisconsin-certified fire instructor II, fire officer II, and fire inspector; an adjunct instructor in fire service programs at Gateway Technical College; and safety director for Scherrer Construction Co., Inc. Havel has a bachelor’s degree from St. Norbert College; has more than 35 years of experience in facilities management and building construction; and has presented classes at FDIC International and other venues.



Construction Concerns: Galvanic Corrosion

Corrosion-Resistant Aluminum Oxide Film Is Self-Healing

Aluminum oxide.

Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA) have found that a solid oxide protective coating for metals, when applied in sufficiently thin layers, can deform as if it were a liquid, and fill any cracks and gaps as they form.

The thin coating layer is expected to be especially useful for preventing the permeation of tiny molecules, such as hydrogen gas or radioactive tritium (a heavy form of hydrogen that forms inside the cores of nuclear power plants), that can pass through most materials.

Most metals, with the notable exception of gold, tend to oxidize when exposed to air and water. This reaction, which produces rust on iron, tarnish on silver, and verdigris on copper or brass, can weaken the metal over time and lead to cracks or structural failure. There are three known elements, however, that produce an oxide that can actually serve as a protective barrier and prevent further oxidation: aluminum oxide (Al2O3), chromium oxide (Cr2O3), and silicon dioxide (SiO2).

“We were trying to understand why aluminum oxide and silicon dioxide are special oxides that give excellent corrosion resistance,” says Ju Li, a professor of nuclear engineering and science at MIT and senior author of a paper describing the new finding.

The team, led by MIT graduate student Yang Yang, used highly specialized instruments to observe in detail the surface of metals coated with these special oxides to see what happens when they are exposed to an oxygen environment and placed under stress. While most transmission electron microscopes (TEMs) require samples to be studied in a high vacuum, the team used a modified version called an environmental TEM (E-TEM), which allowed the samples to be studied in the presence of gases or liquids of interest. The device was used to study the process that can lead to stress corrosion cracking.

Metals under stress from pressure inside a nuclear reactor vessel and exposed to an environment of superheated steam can corrode quickly if not protected. Even with a solid protective layer, cracks can form that allow oxygen to reach the bare metal surface, where it can then penetrate interfaces between the metal grains that make up a bulk metal material, and cause further corrosion that infiltrates even deeper and leads to structural failure. “We want an oxide that is liquid-like and crack-resistant,” Yang says.

It turns out that aluminum oxide can have liquid-like flowing behavior, even at room temperature, if the coating layer is thin enough—about 2- to 3-nm thick.

People typically think that the metal oxide would be brittle and subject to cracking, Yang says, explaining that no one had demonstrated otherwise because it is so difficult to observe the material’s behavior under realistic conditions. That’s when the specialized E-TEM setup at Brookhaven National Laboratory (Upton, New York, USA), one of about 10 such devices available in the world, came into play. “No one had ever observed how it deforms at room temperature,” he adds.

“For the first time, we’ve observed this at nearly atomic resolution,” notes Li. This approach demonstrated that an Al2Olayer, normally so brittle it would shatter under stress, is almost as deformable when made exceedingly thin as a comparably thin layer of aluminum metal (much thinner than aluminum foil). When a bulk piece of aluminum is coated with Al2O3, the liquid-like flow keeps the aluminum covered with its protective layer, Li reports.

The researchers demonstrated inside the E-TEM that the aluminum with its Al2O3 coating could be stretched to more than double its length without causing any cracks to form, Li says. The oxide forms a very uniform conformal layer that protects the surface, with no grain boundaries or cracks, even under the strain of stretching, he says. Technically, the material is a type of glass, but it moves like a liquid and fully coats the surface as long as it is thin enough.

The self-healing coating could have many potential applications, Li says, noting the advantage of its smooth, continuous surface without cracks or grain boundaries.

Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology,

Corrosion Basics: Protecting Fixed Structures in Seawater

Structures such as offshore drilling platforms supported by steel piles may be protected with either sacrificial galvanic anode systems or impressed current systems.

Structures such as steel bulkheads, steel piles supporting piers or wharfs, offshore drilling platforms, and other similar structures may be protected with either sacrificial galvanic anode systems or impressed current systems.

Galvanic anode systems in seawater, for the most part, use much heavier anodes than those used in soil. This is because it is possible to obtain high current from them in a low-resistivity seawater environment and because the corrodible mass is needed to provide reasonably long life.

For structures that can be polarized, a low-potential galvanic anode material such as zinc or aluminum is generally preferable to a high-potential material such as magnesium. Magnesium will work perfectly well, but may discharge more current than needed.

Zinc or suitable aluminum alloy anodes can polarize a steel structure in seawater to within a few millivolts of the potential of the anode itself. Assume that potential is 50 mV, although it can be less. This means that the anode current will stabilize at a value sufficient to maintain polarization.

If magnesium anodes are used, however, the structure does not tend to polarize beyond ~–1.1 V vs. a silver/silver chloride (Ag/AgCl) electrode (SCE) because the hydrogen overvoltage potential is reached and this results in the evolution of free hydrogen. This means that with a magnesium working voltage of ~ –1.4 V vs. SCE, there will be a driving voltage of ~0.3 V. Thus, on a comparable basis, the magnesium will discharge about five times as much current as is actually required to achieve the required polarization.

Because less powerful anodes can provide an efficient CP system, the surplus current from a more powerful anode is, in effect, wasted. However, there is one advantage. The more cathodic voltage provided by magnesium anodes tends to force the deposition, in seawater, of a thicker protective calcareous coating on the structure surface than would be obtained with less powerful anodes.

Special chemical backfills are not needed in the uniform seawater environment because galvanic anodes work satisfactorily without them.

Impressed current systems for fixed seawater structures may use suitable anode materials, without backfill, suspended in the seawater from the structure being protected or placed on the ocean floor. In the past, various materials such as treated graphite, high-silicon cast iron, platinized titanium, or lead/silver have been used as anodes. However, the introduction of highly efficient, dimensionally stable anodes (DSAs), which are basically mixed metal oxide coatings on titanium, has rendered these other anodes almost obsolete.

Particular attention must be given to the design of the rectifier placement, header cable distribution system, and anode suspension or placement details. Above-water components are subject to severe marine atmospheric attack, whereas other portions must be protected from or designed to withstand the mechanical forces exerted by moving seawater as well as by water-carried debris or shipping traffic.

This article is adapted from Corrosion Basics—An Introduction, Second Edition, Pierre R. Roberge, ed. (Houston, TX: NACE International, 2006), pp. 514-516.