Kota Kinabalu: At sharp 6:30 a.m., about 30 youths from the interiors of Sabah begin their daily hands-on training at the KPD-OISCA Youth Training Centre at Lagud Seberang, in Tenom.
It is the same routine day in day out with punctuality being the prerequisite for the trainees here, a legacy of the Japanese oriented training modules adopted by the centre.
At this 33-year old training centre, youths also have to learn some basic Japanese too.
The centre offers training courses in agriculture, animal husbandry, forestry and making delicacies that are considered most appropriate for these youths from rural agrarian communities.
To pass out with a certificate, the trainees have to complete a minimum of 1580 hours of practical training, pass two exams and attend 200 hours of lectures under the training programmes that take between one and two years.
This remote but internationally known training centre, located about 160 kilometres from Kota Kinabalu, takes in an average of 35 trainees annually. The college operates in partnership between the Rural Development Cooperative (KPD) and the Japan based Organisation for Industrial, Spiritual and Cultural Advancement (OISCA).
The youth training center was established in 1978 and initially managed by a group of seven experts from Japan, headed by Dr Shoichiro Kanda.
However, in 1980 Mr Tatsuo Kosugi, who married a local, took over the management of the centre as its chief instructor and in 1989 the training centre was relocated to the present area from its original location in Kampung Limbawan, Keningau.
According to KPD's General Manager Datuk Datu Basrun Datu Haji Mansor, since it's inception, the centre has trained about 1,500 youths mostly from the interior districts of Sabah.
"Out of the total, 238 trainees had furthered their training for another year in Japan.
"Upon returning from Japan, they shared what they had learnt with their communities," he told Bernama.
The centre provides accommodation, lecture halls, prayer hall, delicacy making facilities and agricultural machineries, and has eight hectares of land for vegetable and paddy cultivation activities and another hectare for fruit orchard.
"The KPD-OISCA Youth Training Centre is unique in its own right, it produces its own agricultural necessities, particularly rice and vegetables, mostly for the consumption of its residents," Basrun said.
Apart from providing training for the youths, the centre also rolls out community-based programmes such as the Children Forest Programme and Community Forest Programme.
Students from 48 schools, mostly in the interior district, have since taken part in the Children Forest Programme that resulted in the planting of 13,632 trees.
Under the Community Forest programme, villagers from four villages in Ranau district planted 17,900 trees.
The training centre has since introduced several business-oriented socio-economic activities in order to strengthen and diversify the type of skills required by the trainees.
This include food processing activity which was introduced in 1994 following the setting up of food processing centre donated by JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) through OISCA Japan. Basic Home Economic management was also introduced the same year.
"We also introduced goat and poultry breeding, and fish breeding in tanks and vegetable cultivation including tomatoes through the fertigation method, he said.
Though KPD-OISCA Youth Training Centre is among the many training facilities available today, it still has an important role in improving the socio-economic standing of the youths and in helping the government bring about socio-economic transformation especially among the rural communities in Sabah.
--Courtesy of New Sabah Times