IT vocational training key to meeting demands

Experts urge IT collaboration with academia for skilled workforce, enhanced competitiveness

GOHAR ALI KHAN April 26, 2024
A researcher plants a semiconductor on an interface board during a research work to design and develop a semiconductor product at Tsinghua Unigroup research centre in Beijing, China, February 29, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS


IT vocational training can help fresh graduates become employable, meeting the rising demands of IT companies, according to IT experts. They added that educational institutions and research organisations must adopt a delicate and pragmatic approach to produce skilled graduates, rather than employing shotgun methods.

Sharing a host of cardinal pointers, they noted that the local IT industry is calling for more qualified human capital. Collaborating academia, research bodies, technology hubs, and industry could leverage cutting-edge benefits while scaling down risks and revamping performance.

Founder and CEO of Icreativez Technologies, Mehboob Shar, said IT skills have shifted from degree-based graduates to skill-based individuals. Approximately 25,000 IT graduates pass out of universities annually, with 10% unable to secure a job in their field. IT companies repeatedly advertise jobs for website developers, SEO experts, and other IT skills, but struggle to find suitable candidates. Hundreds of thousands of IT graduates are unemployed because they lack industry-relevant skills. University graduates are unaware of the industry’s demands as they are neither taught relevant subjects nor provided necessary training.

“There is a big difference between academia and industry. We should bridge this gap to promote both the industry and fresh graduates to generate more jobs. As employers, we have two options: first, we hire individuals with skills, and second, we hire untrained graduates and provide training for several months to prepare them for professional work,” he said. He stressed that matriculation/intermediate passed youths are more aware of basic skills, and IT companies often provide vocational training to apprentices during employment.

CEO and Director of Jaffer Business Systems (Private) Limited, Veqarul Islam, stated, “One of the biggest issues we face is talent. It is not just about producing quantity but also quality. We have both issues. We are not producing enough quantity, and the quality of graduates is also a concern. Tech demands precision and attention to detail, processes, and outcomes. Our educational institutes often fail to instil these basic skills required by the industry.”

He added that Pakistan’s acceptable standards for work and output are lower than global standards, pointing out the need for universities and businesses to work extensively on this aspect.

Salman Lakhani, Founder, and CEO of Cubix, suggested that establishing internship programmes, guest lectures, and industry-academia partnerships could provide students with real-world insights and skills. He also stressed the importance of government support in creating a conducive business environment, promoting digital infrastructure development, and offering incentives for tech innovation.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 26th, 2024.

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