In driving Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Integrated Circuit (IC) design curriculum development, INTI International College Penang (INTI) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Oppstar Technology Sdn Bhd to develop students’ technical skills through teaching, training, research and development, which will eventually pave the waytowards local and overseas internships or even graduate employment.
Tan Lin Nah (2nd from left), Chief Operating Officer of INTI and Cheah Hun Wah (2nd from right), Chief Technology Officer of Oppstar Technology Sdn Bhd, exchanging the MoU signed, witnessed by Hemalatha Murugiah (left), Chief Executive of INTI International College Penang and Ng Meng Thai (right), Managing Director of Oppstar Technology.
At the signing ceremony held at INTI’s Penang campus, both organisations were represented by their signatories Tan Lin Nah, Chief Operating Officer of INTI and Cheah Hun Wah, Chief Technology Officer of Oppstar Technology Sdn Bhd.
The signing was witnessed by Hemalatha Murugiah, Chief Executive of INTI International College Penang and Ng Meng Thai, Managing Director of Oppstar Technology, and observed by more than a hundred students and academicians packed into the hall.
Addressing the audience, Hemalatha explained that as the opportunity and demand for both AI and IC design were tremendous, the collaboration between INTI and Oppstar would address the envisaged demand in the nation’s talent pipeline as part of high end R&D value chains.
“The ultimate objective of this partnership is to create high end job opportunities for young Malaysians through the Offshore Design Centre Model,” stated Hemalatha.
One of INTI’s 450 industry partners and having recruited students for internships and employment, Oppstar Technology is a local design service company that provides complete IC design and system solutions to multinational corporations (MNC) and local small medium enterprises (SME). The company has an incubation lab beside INTI’s Penang campus.
“Oppstar is an established Malaysian IC design company of about 100 employees. We aim to grow the business between 300 to 500 employers in the next 5 years, and recognising the need for local talents to quickly scale into the world of AI and IC, are pleased to work with INTI in developing future talents. Oppstar is also stepping up our efforts by bringing in high value contract design activities. In the near future, we will be rolling out the first Artificial Intelligence (AI) design,” enthused Cheah during his speech.
Through this collaboration, a structured industry-academia programme will be created to groom future talent pipelines. Leveraging the expertise of industry, students and faculties will receive the opportunity to learn through industry lectures, boot camps, onsite trainings, internships and employer projects which serve to eventually lead to possible job placements at Oppstar Technology or related industries.
The training topics are expected to cover hardware IC design, system development and chip based IC design. Based on the structure, INTI students from as early as Year One will be exposed to the core foundation courses at Oppstar’s incubation lab, which is just a stone’s throw from their campus. In Year Two, they will expose to specialised courses and internships, and take on a final year project in Year Three, before pursuing on the job training or employment in Year Four.
Khoo Livian, 27, a Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) in Electrical & Electronic Engineering, University of Bradford alumni who graduated from INTI in 2015 enthused, “I have been working with Oppstar for three years, which has provided me with a great platform to grow in my profession as an Analog Circuit Designer. In my daily job routine, I am in charge of designing motor driver module for digital cameras. Over the years I have gained numerous training opportunities which includes working with engineers from Japan and the United States, and exchanging design ideas. These experiences have greatly opened my mind and inspired me with new ideas.”
Besides students from electrical and electronic engineering, the collaboration with Oppstar benefits INTI by enriching the curriculum offered across computer science and Information Technology programmes. Graduates of these programmes will be highly employable upon completing the courses especially in fields related to IC design, system development, AI and software development.
Hemalatha concludes, “Employment needs within the Fourth Industrial Revolution will be vastly different from anything we have faced so far. We are pleased to be working with Oppstar which enables us to prepare our students for the technologies of the future and ensure they remain relevant within today’s fast paced working environment. Through such collaborations, we hope to continue achieving outstanding outcomes, which most recently recorded 99% of INTI graduates receiving jobs within 6 months of graduating while 60% got job offers even before graduating.”