Vocational Training & Economic Participation

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Vocational-TrainingBy Fatima Naqvi Nabeel

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” is a famous Chinese proverb. In the midst of today’s financial turbulence, this saying holds more weight than gold. As companies look towards the implementation of technology to gain efficiencies, the need for humans as a resource element is declining and an increasing number of people are becoming unemployed. This, coupled with the financial crunch is forcing companies to streamline their operations resulting in a state of further unemployment.

In such conditions, one has to rely on their own business means to sustain their family. Individuals belonging to the lower bracket of the financial pyramid, find it difficult to earn a living and this feeling of resentment leads them to beggary or even worse actions like self-immolation and suicide. To prevent such dire actions or mitigate the very root of such incidents,  the society as a whole should take the responsibility to encourage positivity and enable such people to rejuvenate their lives thereby becoming icons of resilience and strength.

For the healthy churning of the economic cycle, it is important that people are positive contributors. The simplest solution is to acquire a skill. This may range from being able to drive, learning to fix electrical appliances, plumbing, handiwork, or any other ability which can be used for earning on regular basis. Not much attention has been paid to skill development in the country. Generally, NGO’s and social workers have been targeting social issues and fighting human rights., The need of the hour is to give additional attention to vocational training whereby we teach a man to fish!

Vocational Training in Pakistan:

Karigar Training Institute is a thriving example of vocational training. The aim of this institute is to enable young people who have passed high school to become proficient in various marketable skills including plumbing, electrical work, mechanical work on engines and equipment maintenance. The high standard of training is reflected in the fact that over 70% of these trainees passed the examination of the Trade Testing Board, Government of Sindh, with A-1 or A grade. More than half of these trainees are already employed (five overseas) or self-employed (in business), while another 20% completed their internship during the end of April, 2011. About 10% are pursuing further training/education.

Success Stories:

Daniyal Sadique, 17, is working as a plumber in a factory in Korangi since the beginning of January, 2011. He started working on a monthly salary of Rs. 8,000 which was raised to Rs. 11,000 after two months. He qualified as a plumber in December, 2010 after completing a six month course at Karigar Training Institute and has already repaid 75% of the Qarz-e-Hasna which was granted to him by the Institute.

Afzal Ahmed, 32, also qualified from this Institute and has been running his own workshop for motor cycle repairs since May, 2010. His present net earnings per month range between Rs. 7,000 – Rs. 12,000. To expand his services, he has recently applied for an interest free loan which the Institute offers to promote entrepreneurship sponsored through a local industrial group

Karigar as an Institute:

Karigar Training Institute is incorporated as a not-for-profit company. The Institute is primarily run by a principal along with  a team of instructors and administrative staff who work under the guidance of a Management Committee led by the chief executive, Mr. Shamim Zafar. Other members of the Committee include the directors Commodore Rashidullah and Mr. Naveed Gilani and Mr. Zahid Rehman and Mr. S.M. Wasif.

The Institute was started by a group of people who recognized the dilemma of the educated youth who were unable to participate in economic activities in which their education could be utilized. This idea was translated into reality as Ali Jehangir Siddiqui, director/shareholder in JS Group committed to provide initial financial support. Most of the initial capital expenditure required and the annual operating deficit of more than Rs. 3 million is being funded by Mehvish & Jehangir Siddiqui Foundation, the charitable arm of JS Group.

Future Plans:

The institute is currently focusing on its recruitment drive. This includes visiting areas such as Korangi where young men with metric degrees are still unemployed. The largest challenge being faced is to convince the parents of these young boys to enroll their sons in the institute. Therefore, awareness drives and distribution of flyers is necessary.

Seeking finance from donors is also on the agenda of the Institute. Improving the facilities and amenities can only be possible with sufficient financial support. Upgrading the workshops is on the cards along with the introduction of new trades.

Presently, Karigar has only one training centre inKarachi which is an all-boys institute. It has plans to spread to more cities in Pakistan and also want to offer training courses for women with similar facilities.

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