Islamabad - The best way to prevent frustrated and jobless youth falling prey into hands of terrorists is to impart them with vocational and technical training for helping them get blue-collar jobs in various sectors of industry, said NAVTTC Executive Director Zulfiqar Ahmad Cheema at press briefing here on Monday.

Zulfiqar Cheema, who recently took over as head of the National Vocational and Technical Training Commission (NAVTTC), said 55 per cent of the educated and hardworking youth of the country were a “double-edged weapon” whose potential could be transformed by enhancing their skills in various trades like plumbing, Auto-Cad, Information Technology, welding , tailoring, cooking, baking and fashion designing.

“Otherwise unemployment, poverty and frustration could lead them astray and into hands of criminal elements and terrorists,” Cheema said while announcing various steps to turn around NAVTTC by imparting quality training to the youth in 10 trades, which were in demand both in domestic and international markets.

Cheema, who had the reputation of a doer, said vocational training was the only effective tool for poverty reduction and to produce a skilled manpower.

He said Job Placement Centres were being set up to make data of the skilled manpower available to the industry. The NAVTTC was already in touch with the industry and was receiving their demands which would help making the curriculum and a strategy to train the youth for the blue-collar jobs. A Sector Skills Council had also been established which would pinpoint the sectors in which skilled labour was required, he added.

Urging the media to help remove the stigma attached with blue-collar jobs, he said the skilled labour could become a big source of earnings both for their families and for the country in form of remittances.

The NAVTTC, he said, would also train the youth in various trades and fields keeping in view requirements of the international market where they could get jobs and remit the money home.

“We have a lot of demand in different fields from many countries and we will train our youth as per market demand,” he added. He said that NAVTTC would follow Germany and Sri Lanka as role models in professional training education.

Cheema said non-matric to high level of students were getting benefit from the professional training scheme.

He said Pakistan’s human capital, particularly the youth, had great potential which had yet to be tapped. Skill development was the only way to overcome poverty alleviation and by prioritising technical and vocational skills we can make our youth useful and productive citizens of the country, he added.

He said the NAVTTC is already holding skill competitions and would hold job fairs in all the provincial capitals and Islamabad in February and March. “We plan to gather industrialists, trainees, trainers, school/college going boys and girls, parents, employers and TVET policy-makers at one place. The aim is to interact, socialise and network with each other to explore and benefit from level of skill competencies, marketable trades and available employment opportunities for the youth,” he added.

He said the NAVTTC was establishing Skill Counseling Desks across the country for the guidance of youth. National Training Bureau was being upgraded to meet the international standards of training so that the youth could be trained in modern trades, he added.

Cheema said under the TVET Reform Support Programme, which was funded by the EU, Netherlands, Germany and Norway, the NAVTTC had devised TVET policy and National Vocational Qualifications Framework (NVQF) policy to bring a paradigm shift in TVET delivery.

For the first time in Pakistan, he said, a Competency Based Training (CBT) programme had been launched in 97 institutes with expected 20,000 pass-outs. The NAVTTC had also completed the accreditation of 586 TVET programmes and institutes to improve quality of TVET and create national standards.

Likewise, the National Skill Information System had been made functional in NAVTTC, besides training of 85,000 teachers in pedagogical skills, he added.

Cheema said the cooperative vocational training scheme had been launched to provide skills to trainees with on-job-experience. “We are in contact with foreign ambassadors to get information about the market demand of their countries,” he added. He said that NAVTTC was also ready to train professionals in the field of agriculture.