ISLAMABAD - The National Vocational and Technical Training Commission (NAVTTC) is in process of establishing five more sector specific centres of excellence (COEs) to promote technical and vocational training.

The COEs are being established one at Islamabad and one each in four provinces in collaboration with partner donor organizations. These COEs will be equipped with modern technologies and will also cater to needs of teachers training, research and private sector engagement.

Official sources on Sunday said PC-1 has been approved for establishing two COEs in training institutes of Islamabad including National Training Bureau (NTB) Islamabad and National Skills University (erstwhile National Institute of Scientific and Technical Education-NISTE) Islamabad.

However, funding allocations to start the projects has not yet been made.

The sources said another COE for hospitality and construction is being established at National Skill University with collaboration of Turkish Development Agency, TIKA in order to meet growing needs for Heavy Machinery Operators (HMOs) in both domestic and international job markets.

PC-1 has been approved for establishing technical training facilities in 13 districts of the country including Gilgit, Peshawar, Dera Ismail Khan, Mansehra, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Multan, Bahawalpur, Quetta, Gwadar, Sukkur, Hyderabad and Karachi. The funding allocation to start the project is still awaited.

It is mentioned here that NAVTTC is an apex organization for policy making, regulation, coordination, and standardization of the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) sector in Pakistan.

Though the commission does not own vocational and technical training institutes of its own, it has established numerous sector specific Centers of Excellence (COE) across the country.

These institutes/COEs are now operated by their respective federal or provincial departments. Some of such institutes/COEs include College of Technology, Multan, Tourism & Hotel Management Lahore, GCT Nowshera, GCT Karimabad, Pakistan Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management, Karachi, Department of Tourism and Hotel Management, Hazara University, Mansehra, GCT Railway Road, Lahore and Govt. Advance Technical Training Institute, Peshawar.

The sources said additionally, workshops and laboratories in more than 50 Technical and Vocational Training Institutes in all four provinces are upgraded to bring training facilities at par with demands of the national and international job markets.

Establishing district-wise institutes falls in domain of respective technical and vocational education and training authorities (TVETAs) of provinces while providing technical and vocational training is responsibility of respective provincial governments.

However, the sources said, to bridge huge gap between provincial capacity to impart technical training and demand for skilled workforce as well as size of youth population, NAVTTC has been implementing Prime Minister Youth Skill Development Programme (PMYSDP).

PMYSDP is a nationwide program which circumferences whole country including far-flung areas of Balochistan, rural Sindh, Southern Punjab, Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan & FATA.

Special priority is given to women, lower socio-economic groups and minorities in order to ensure access to quality skill development opportunities.

The programme is being implemented in collaboration with Provincial TEVTAs, Provincial Labour & Manpower Departments, Social Welfare Departments, Private Technical & Vocational Training providers, Armed Forces Institutes and the industry.

The duration of training is six months and all the training expenses are borne by the Government of Pakistan.

The trainees are paid monthly stipend of Rs. 3,000 per trainee (in case of FATA Rs. 4,000).

At end of the training, TVET graduates are also provided with tool kits which not only gives them an opportunity to utilize their gained skills but also help them to start their own businesses. The seats under the program are distributed among provinces on population basis, however, less developed areas like Balochistan, FATA, Gilgit-Baltistan and Rural Sindh are given high share in enrollment of trainees.

Around 200,000 youth has so far benefited from the Programme, primarily belonging to middle, lower middle class and deprived segments of society. NAVTTC has allocated a special quota of minimum 30 per cent for female enrollment for skill development courses under this Programme.