KUALA LUMPUR: Smart Trends International Sdn Bhd, a training recruitment and consultancy specialist, is looking to expand its operations in the emerging Asian and African markets. Smart Trends offers corporate training and technical programmes, which are designed to equip workers and non-workers with specific skills and abilities to perform their jobs efficiently and helps in improving their skills and enhancing their performance. The company had also recently signed a strategic partnership with NCFE (UK) to develop specially tailored technical and vocational courses for the Asean region. NCFE is an awarding organisation by the qualification regulators for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. “We are trying to venture into these markets in the fourth quarter of this year because we feel that there is a lot of potential especially in terms of vocational education,” Smart Trends chairman and group CEO Datuk Dr Emmanuel Benson told SunBiz on the sidelines of the Global Leadership Awards 2018 recently. “Africa is an emerging market and they need education, especially on vocational and technical training. Not everyone (there) can afford to attend college or university,” he added. Smart Trends currently has presence in Sri Lanka and Vietnam with the opening of its training centres in these countries. In 2017, it has successfully trained and placed over 1,200 Malaysians with global multinational companies (MNCs) and Malaysian manufacturing, construction and oil & gas firms, according to its website. Going forward, Benson said he believes that there will be a lot of multinational job opportunities coming in to Malaysia, driven by surging foreign direct investments (FDIs) into the country as well as growing industries. “Training industry is an evolving and growing sector where you know micro-skilling is always needed. And what we are lacking (here) is that our graduates are not able to get a job and many people are getting retrenched, so micro-skilling is pivotal and plays an important role in order to get one employed,” he added. During the event, Benson bagged two awards, namely the “Masterclass CEO of the Year” and “Leadership Excellence in Human Capital Development Through Technology Innovation”.