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Vocational training must to counter millions of unemployed youth’s Tsunami

June 11, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Panelists at a Public Forum on ‘Self Employment’ organized by Akhtar Hamid Khan Resource Centre Friday called for providing jobs and entrepreneurship oriented vocational and technical training to millions of youth to check Tsunami of the unemployed.

Speaking on the occasion, Advisor to the Ministry of Youth Affairs, Ali Mardan Ali Mardan the Ministry for the first time has raised budgetary allocation from Rs 40 million to Rs 5 billion with may key projects including the Youth Internship Programme that provides hands on job training to 50,000 young graduates and Rs 10,000 a month to each one of them every month.

“The government has announced Pakistan’s first Youth Policy in January 2009 that focuses on skills development and jobs for the youth. After providing internships in the government departments, we are trying to accommodate other youth in industry. If we will not focus on youth, we cannot achieve the goals of development,” Ali Mardan said.

Talking about some other initiatives, he said the Ministry has set up 100 youth centres where they are provided with peer counseling and job counseling. International donors and UN Agencies and civil society groups are coordinating in our efforts. He said we have to meet a huge gap between number of jobs and job-seekers. We have developed a vision for youth at the ministry. UNFPA fully supported programme.

Muhammad Saifullah Chaudhry from ILO Pakistan said youth form a big chunk of the country’s population but millions of children are out of schools and a large number of youth are jobless. If we combine both of them amid the forthcoming unemployment situation in the country, we foresee a Tsunami of unemployed youth at hand and we can only combat it while promoting skills development with a view to creating more and more entrepreneurs and not only job seekers.

“Skills development leads towards decent work, a core area of focus for ILO. We need to take private sector on board and link them with skills development institutions and create jobs relevant to industry and overseas labour market,” Saif said.

He said there is a need to think differently by focusing on children’s education coupled with their vocational and technical skills development making them competitive enough in the labour market. “We have to focus on their training not only to seek jobs but to set up their own business based on what skills they learn,” he added.

Fayyaz Baqir from the Centre said the youth are our biggest resource and we need to build their vocational skills so that they can earn their living with dignity and respect. He said the Resource Centre has collected 11000 documents regarding rural development that speak a lot on rural development. Researchers, media persons, officials can benefit from them. He was of the view that Freedom of Expression is only possible and could be strengthened if it is based on research and rightful articulation.

Earlier, Saqib Mohiuddin, CEO Business Support Fund presented a case study of VTech Rawalpindi and said that the vocational and technical training is important for sustainable economic development of any country. The government has given some attention to the strengthening of vocational institutes. Cutlery and ceramic institutes have been revised which is good. Economies of Singapore, Malaysia and Pakistan were on same pattern in 1960s but what happened later. We lagged behind because we did not give important to vocational education a priority as did by Singapore and Malaysia.

He suggested that there is a need to offer courses, which are relevant to industry (employers) and meet the economic needs of the country and can generate resources for the country and Labour market.

“Vocational and technical training institutes must take care of demands and supply link for offering courses. Public private partnership can work in vocational and technical education. Entrepreneurship training is important, as only getting job should not be the prime objective of any vocational and technical training.

Roomi S Hayat, CEO N-Institute of Rural Management (N-IRM) said N-IRM gives importance to employment generation related skills development. It imparts skills training to 60,000 to 70,000 people annually. We assess the needs of the potential trainees on social and technical basis so that we pick the right trade for appropriate social settings.

“We also impart life skills to our trainees so that they become a good citizen as well. So, that we can build them as good skilled workers and good citizens,” he added.