LAHORE, November 27: Experts and leaders from the corporate sector on Thursday underlined the importance of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) and urged for permanent and meaningful linkages of public and private sector for the production of a skilled workforce in line with the market needs.
This was a clear message coming from the national conference entitled “Sustainability Exchange Conference”.
The conference was organized by the Engro Foundation with the support of TVET Reform Support Programme, which is funded by the European Union, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Federal Republic of Germany and the Royal Norwegian Embassy, and commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is implementing this programme in close collaboration with the National Vocational and Technical Training Commission (NAVTTC).
The main objective of the conference was to promote a profound dialogue between public and private representatives on the TVET reform, with the objective to improve livelihoods through relevant skills training, job creation and sustainable investment.
Shahbaz Sharif, Chief Minister Punjab was the chief guest, while His Excellences Mr. Larsh-Gunar Wigermark, the Ambassador of European Union, Mr. Marcel de Vink, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Dr. Cyrill Nunn, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany and Mr. Leif Holger Larsen, the Ambassador of Norway were the guests of honour on the occasion.
Mr. Shahbaz Sharif, Chief Minister Punjab in his speech applauded Engro’s efforts and said: “Public private partnership is a crucial model and it is necessary for the government to support the private sector and help it expand and develop. He said the role of the private sector is very important to produce a quality workforce for the job market. The government, he said, encourages the participation of the industry in the TVET delivery process as the public TVET system alone can’t produce the needed workforce for the job market unless it is closely linked to the industry.
The Chief Minister also thanked the EU and the governments of the Netherlands, Germany and Norway for their generous support to the TVET sector reform in Pakistan ; he underlined that he hoped that it will help to create a better TVET system in the country.
Speaking at the occasion, Aliuddin Ansari – CEO and President, Engro Corporation- said, “Engro believes that as a leading corporate entity we have the responsibility to bring to light key issues that impact our economy and the community as a whole.
The Sustainability Exchange 2014 is an attempt to highlight the issue of skills development and technical training of our youth that is currently estimated to be 42 million. By 2050, this youth population is set to increase to 350 million. Therefore, it is imperative that as business leaders we take the ownership to devise the right strategies and invest in deploying inclusive businesses that can provide socio-economic opportunities to this large chunk of our population”’, he said.
The conference further highlighted the role of the corporate sector in employing policies that can effectively help Pakistan reap benefits of the youth dividend specifically with regards to the ongoing TVET reform.
The panelists stressed that, there is greater need and scope to invest in skills programs supported by the public sector and backed by industry demand.
The participants stressed upon quality versus quantity in the TVET system, adding the private sector can be seen as an engine for improving quality of the skills training. They argued that corporate investment therefore should be designed to take advantage of Pakistan’s competitive strengths and fulfill the country’s social and economic needs. In this context the quality of the training was mentioned so that the pass outs will indeed be picked up by the Industry.
Moreover, the conference placed emphasis on the need for adopting the Business Inclusive Model in agriculture for accelerated agricultural growth, which not only will improve food security but also alleviate poverty by enhancing incomes of these smallholder farmers as well as providing employment for the youth.
At the end it was clearly stressed by the participants that it is necessary for all stakeholders to join hands and to exhibit the necessary will to jointly support the reform in the skills sector in Pakistan. This takes time, energy and resources. The result will be a skilled Pakistan, which has a huge potential to become a major economic player in the world.