New Apprenticeship Model launched to enhance public-private partnership in producing a constant stream of skilled workforce

The new model will help in enhancing youth employability and increasing industrial productivity

“Each year around 2.5 million people enter the local job market while majority of them lack basic necessary skills to meet the demands of the local industry. Our biggest challenge is to ensure that every person entering the job market is equipped with modern skills with a certain amount of hands-on work experience to cater to the needs of employers’ requirements and for that we need to link up our education system with the needs of the job market”. This was said by the minister for federal education and professional training, Mr. Shafqat Mahmood, while addressing the launching ceremony of “Modern Apprenticeships in Pakistan” organized by the National Vocational & Technical Training Commission (NAVTTC) in collaboration with British Council Pakistan here at Islamabad today.

For decades, informal apprenticeships have been prevalent in Pakistan as the oldest and most effective method of producing skilled workforce but unfortunately skill development in Pakistan lacked attention and involvement of key stakeholders including employers, business community, training providers and institutes. He appreciated the efforts of NAVTTC for launching the new Apprenticeship model while realizing the need of making apprenticeship system more responsive to the changing market needs and bringing industry on board. He expressed hope that the new Apprenticeship Model will be successfully adopted and implemented in all the provinces and will provide an excellent opportunity to make our young population a vehicle of socio-economic growth and convert Pakistan into an industrial prosperous country.

“There are 3 things that I see NAVTTC to be doing in the future; firstly I believe this will be an organization to set standards for all kind of skills, secondly it will ensure a formal certification system recognized locally and internationally, and finally it will create enhanced public-private partnerships and devise practical plans for skill development for the decades ahead”, he said. “I am happy to announce that Pakistan’s first National Skill University will be established in the next few months at Islamabad where master trainers will be trained who will then train youth in the most demanded trades across the country”, he added.

“Involvement of industry in the skill development is not only necessary for social welfare but is fundamental to the economic development of Pakistan”, said Chairman NAVTTC, Syed Javed Hassan while addressing the ceremony. Enhanced industrial productivity depends on how effectively we train our people and for this our industry has to take a leading role for skilling Pakistani youth and in transforming our country into a 21st century nation, he added.

The executive director NAVTTC, Dr. Nasir Khan, while addressing the ceremony said that Pakistan is currently facing a huge gap between supply and demand of skilled workforce. “Our annual demand for skilled workforce in the local market is more than 1 million while system has the capacity to produce only 445,000 labour force and if we include the requirements of CPEC related projects and international job market then the total annual demand reaches up to 2 million”, he said. Unfortunately Apprenticeship Ordinance, 1962 was both narrow in scope and lacked ownership by the industry. The total number of apprentices trained by the industry annually is only 40,000 while there are around 70,000 registered industries in Pakistan, he added. Apprenticeship is at the core of the entire TVET system and we need to immediately scale up the figures to ensure economic development of our country, he stressed. 73% of our total labour force comes from informal sector so we need to bring them into the mainstream economy through Recognition of Prior Learning.

James Hampson, Deputy Country Director, British Council Pakistan said that launching of the new Apprenticeship model today demonstrates the British Council’s continued commitment to the friendship between the two nations and to helping tackle issues that really matter to both countries.”  .

“The Apprenticeships Handbook is the first of its kind in Pakistan and we are proud of our partnership with NAVTTC. Everyone – from employers to apprentices, training institutes and education providers – benefits from embracing the full potential of apprenticeships, not the least businesses themselves. This is why, alongside the Handbook we are launching an apprenticeship programme, funded by the Scottish Government, which will benefit 250,000 young people”, he added.

Simon Perryman, an international consultant from UK and the author of “Apprenticeship in Pakistan: a handbook and guide” also addressed the ceremony. He said that Pakistan has a massive opportunity for economic development in the form of huge youth bulge and appreciated that skill development is the highest priority of the present government.