The Colombo Plan Staff College (CPSC) teamed up with the National Vocational & Technical Training Commission (NAVTTC) of Pakistan for its first-ever Regional Program on “Skills for Youth Employability through Industry Linkages”. The program kicked off from August 28-31, 2017 at Islamabad Hotel, in Islamabad Pakistan.

Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Engr. Baligh-U-Rehman graced the inaugural ceremonies of the program as Chief Guest attended by the delegates from Embassy of Nepal, Sri Lanka, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, GIZ, ILO and leading industry representatives. The Minister warmly welcomed the 26 participants from 11 member countries and highlighted the initiatives taken by the current government in the promotion of education in general and technical education in particular.

In his inaugural speech, the minister mentioned that in the wake of 4th Wave of Industrialization where highly skilled workers will be required, the bringing of industry and employers to participate in the skills development interventions has become urgent. He said that “the program on “Skills for Youth Employability through Industry Linkages” is very timely and I hope that the outcome of the workshop will be very useful in shaping our strategies.” The Minister further emphasized the use of ICT platform skills training and staff development initiatives with regard to enhancing youth skills.

Engr. Baligh U Rehman (standing) inaugurates the Regional Program

The Executive Director NAVTTC Mr. Zulfiqar Cheema thanked Dr. Ramhari for his keen interest in arranging the regional program on the very timely issue of industry institute linkage to improve quality of training and enhance employability of TVET pass outs. The Executive Director praised CPSC for its work in capacity building of member countries and establishing networks between them. The Director suggested that CPSC may open its doors to Gulf Countries and other countries of Asia Pacific region for new members to join CPSC. He also appreciated the theme of the program to be very relevant as seen in industries in Europe, South Korea and other developed countries that have played their due role in improving TVET outputs in terms of high employability rates.

He further added that “the world has become global and we can learn from their success stories as to these practices can be appropriated to the local needs.” The ED highlighted various initiatives that have been taken up by NAVTTC to engage industry people through the whole cycle of TVET interventions for skill development. Mr. Cheema welcomed all the foreign delegates who will benefit from the program and share their experiences about their respective TVET systems and come up with common learning on the subject. He reiterated his full support to CPSC programs and initiatives for the larger benefits of the youth in the region.

Dr. Ramhari Lamichani CPSC DG (left photo) and Mr. Zulfiqar Cheema (right) Executive Director, NAVTTC at the Inaugural Ceremony of the program.

Dr. Ramhari Lamichani, Director General of CPSC in his opening speech highlighted the role TVET can play in harnessing the dividends from the demographic advantage of the Asia Pacific region. He stressed the significance of industrial engagements with TVET in producing a highly skilled employable workforce. The CPSC DG praised the effort of NAVTTC in taking some bold steps to involve the industry in complete cycle of the training programs which have been proven effective in improving TVET systems in the counties. He thanked NAVTTC for the excellent arrangements, liberal hospitality and support for the regional program.

The program centered on the following themes: (1) Industry-TVET Linkages: Current Trends, Practices & Challenges; (2) Exploring Avenues for Long Term Industry-TVET Linkages; (3) Beyond Employment- Role of Industry in Quality Assurance in TVET; and (4) Towards Sustainable Governance in TVET Through Long Term Industry- Institute Linkages.

The program aimed to enhance the capacity of the participants, ensuring continuous improvement by internalizing and later implementing the concepts and processes in the area of Industry – Institute Linkages for Quality Assured TVET. At the end of the program, the participants were expected to be able to: develop current understanding on the concepts and processes of Industry – Institute Partnership; appraise strategies and identify the tools and techniques in integrating quality assurance elements into TVET governance and partnership (with industry) system; design suitable approaches and models incorporating the concept of NVQF, skill standards, Competency Based Training (CBT) and Incubation in the TVET governance and partnership model and; prepare an action-based development plan for integrating the industry in the TVET teaching and learning process.

The participants visited APACC accredited Construction Technology training Institute (CTTI) and Askari Institute of Technology. The participants took keen interest on both the institute and appreciated the work they are doing and their warm hospitality.

The roster of speakers included leading industrialists Mr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig and Ms. Farah Hamid Khan, Secretary Industries, Commerce and Technical Education, the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to share their views on issues and problems with the industries and government initiatives to expand economic activities in the region that greater implications for TVET systems. Dr. Ramhari Lamichanne and Dr. Nasir Khan, Director Generals of CPSC and NAVTTC, respectively shared their insights as well during the program as Resource Persons.

Ms. Farah Hamid Khan Secretary Industries KPK and Mr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, leading industrialists shared their expertise during the program.

Dr. Hazrat Hussain, former CPSC Faculty Consultant, currently Professor at the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa - Technical Education and Vocational Authority (TEVTA), Peshawar acted as CPSC Program Coordinator and Resource person during the program. Dr. Faheem Mohammad, Director General (A&C) and Mr. Muhammad Naeem Iqbal, Director (Accreditation) handled local facilitation of the program as Local Coordinators. They were assisted by the NAVTTC team namely, Mr. Muhammad Asghar Gondal, Director (Admin.) and Mr. Fareed Sultan Deputy Director (Admin).