Success Stories 2018 | The Apprentice Shoe Designer Program

Awang Muhammad Naquib, better known as Naquib, was trained as an engineer but loves drawing and design. He stumbled upon an interesting post on JobStreet and after some serious soul searching, decided to leave his engineering job and took the leap: he joined the SHRDC Apprentice Shoe Designer program. In the span of four months, he learned how to design and make shoes.

“Be sure of your objectives and work on your advantages”, said Naquib. With that motto and his stunning creation, he won the second prize for best shoe design at the recent 8th Malaysian International Shoe Festival (MISF).

2018 marks the best year for the SHRDC’s Apprentice Shoe Designer program to date, with five winners taking the top second and third spots and three young designers winning the Most Promising awards. Delivered in partnership with the Malaysian Footwear Manufacturers’ Association (MFMA), participants are taught to combine traditional skills of shoemaking with the latest methods and technology by master shoemakers and designers, at the SHRDC Training Centre in Shah Alam. Over the course of four months, program participants are taught to sketch & design shoes. Their interests in fashion and accessories are further sharpened with skills in material selection and procurement. Combining the traditional method with latest technology in shoe design and production software, participants effectively acquired useful techniques in making ladies and mens shoes, from heels, wedges to boots, moccasins and many more designs.


Among the top participants was a seasoned entrepreneur, Tanty Marlena Abdullah. She is extremely resourceful, business minded and has huge ambitions. “I want to take footwear (production) to the next level and rebuild (the) shoe design and manufacturing sector in Malaysia”, she said confidently. Despite her busy schedule, she took time off to attend the SHRDC Apprentice Shoe Designer program full time, won 3rd place for best shoes design in MISF 2018 and plans to complete her apprenticeship with a local shoe manufacturer. Her aim is to commercially produce batik and songket based shoes. This is one lady to look out for!

Other winners from the 2017-18 cohort includes Muhammad Arafat, Norshyaidatul Faisha and Najwa Najihah, all of whom won Most Promising Awards. Originating from vastly different backgrounds, they share one common passion – shoe design and the bespoke manner of which they are taught. The hands-on aspects of the program can be challenging but as Faisha says, “Don’t give up. It’s hard but it’s so worth it!”

The SHRDC Apprentice Shoe Designer program is fully funded by the Malaysian Government through Perbadanan Tabung Pebangunan Kemahiran (PTPK).

For more information contact SHRDC 03 5513 3560 or email

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