Published on December 19th, 2022 | by Subhash Nair0
Proton Sends 16 Staff For ‘New Energy Vehicle’ Training Programme – Will They Stick Around After?
How long will Proton retain this latest batch of overseas trainees?
The automotive industry is pivoting away from the internal combustion engine and towards electrified drivetrain alternatives. Even Proton has to prepare itself for the wave of New Energy Vehicles (NEVs) that are already hitting our market. They’ve done so by sending 16 members of their staff to China for training.
The NEV training will take place at the Geely Research Institute at Hangzhou, China and will take 6 months to complete. These Proton employees will be trained in development, integration, manufacturing, sales and service for a new generation of vehicles that will be gradually introduced into Malaysia by Proton.
If you’re having flashbacks to Proton in the ‘good old days’, I don’t blame you. In Proton’s early years, they’d send staff overseas for training. This happened throughout the company’s loss-making years. Even when they were developing their last batch of engines (all scrapped before production) with Ricardo, Proton staff were stationed in Europe.
For decades, the company has been sending Malaysians overseas for training and we have to ask where those employees are today? Did Proton manage to retain them over the years? Did they say “thank you very much” and then apply for jobs elsewhere? Perhaps in other countries?
Hopefully with this latest batch of 16, they’ve all been made to sign contracts for service that keep them in Proton or at the very least with one of Geely’s many brands for a set number of years.
Here’s the press release with more.
PROTON has sent sixteen staff members to Hangzhou, China, for a six-month training stint to learn about new energy vehicles (NEV). The programme will see them based at the renowned Geely Research Institute at Ningbo and be trained in multiple disciplines involved in the development, integration, manufacturing, and sales and service for a new generation of vehicles that will gradually be introduced by the national automotive brand.
The members of the group are the first staffers to undergo NEV training and consist of a mix of experienced industry workers and young engineers who graduated from the company’s Young Talent programme. More will be sent in the future as PROTON leverages on the technical knowledge amassed by Geely to develop its own range of NEVs.
Investing in human capital to build better products for Malaysians
Aside from training the participants in various aspects of NEVs, the work attachment in China will aid in deciding the final specifications for products such as the smart #1, the first EV to be sold by PROTON’s NEV subsidiary PRO-NET that is due to arrive in Q4 2023. Because usage patterns and user behaviour differ from country to country, input from Proton staff will be vital to ensuring it meets the needs of Malaysian buyers.
Looking a little further ahead, these training programmes will help to strengthen collaborative efforts as PROTON staff get involved in multiple disciplines earlier in the development process to fine turn upcoming offerings to local market expectations. The ultimate goal however is for the acquisition of knowledge and new skills that will help steer the company’s future direction for years to come.
Prior to their departure on 10 December, each member of the group was given the opportunity to speak about their expectations and goals for the training programme to PROTON’s senior management during a send-off ceremony. For many, it would be their first time working in a foreign country, but all were excited by the opportunity presented and committed to sharing their experiences with co-workers when they returned.