KARACHI: Eight German multinational corporations and the German Consulate in Karachi have joined hands to tackle the need for skilled labour in the country. German Consul General Dr Tilo Klinner and representatives of the Aman Foundation’s AmanTech and Habib University Foundation’s Institute for Advancing Careers and Talents (iACT) launched the “Germany-Pakistan Training Initiative” during a ceremony on Monday.
The German federal ministry of economic cooperation and development is supporting the programme which will be spearheaded by Dr Stefan Oswald.
Dr Klinner said that a country where nearly 63 per cent of the population was under 25 years has a tremendous opportunity to progress. According to the German expert, an increasing number of youngsters were graduating from universities, “but they were mostly equipped with theoretical knowledge”.
German multinational giants such as Siemens, BASF, Linde, Mercedes-Benz, Merck, Lufthansa Cargo, DB Schenker and DHL have decided to act as partners in the programme that aims to generate a regular stream of dedicated workers. Metro, a retail chain in Pakistan, will also be part of the project. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (the German Agency for International Cooperation, or GIZ) will be assisting the German government in the programme. GIZ has had an office in Pakistan since 1990.
The programme will be based on the dual training system, which will combine theoretical lessons at schools with apprenticeships at a company. Theory classes will be taught at iACT’s offices in Saudabad, Malir, and AmanTech’s offices in Korangi Town. Matric graduates will be eligible to apply for an entrance test that is a perquisite for entrance into the programme. The first group of trainees are expected to enroll by April 2013. Vocational training for the commercial sector will span one year, while that for the industrial sector will extend over two years. Officials also hope to extend the programme to other multinational companies later on. The government’s technical education and vocational training authority is also expected to extend it to Pakistani companies.
“The dual training system combines theory and practice via vocational education at schools and apprenticeships at a company for a specific course,” GIZ’s principal education advisor Dr Julie Reviere told The Express Tribune. He added that meeting the need of skilled manpower was a challenge. “Well-trained [workers] who are tailored for particular skills are extremely difficult to recruit. Our multinational partners would love to hire skilled manpower from Pakistan,” she said.
Dr Oswald said that the principle objective of the project was to produce a productive workforce that would be equipped to handle the challenges presented by modern industries. It also aims to contribute to capacity building of vocational training institutes in Pakistan. He added that Germany was spending around €50 million on different programmes in Pakistan.
“We want to focus on the bottom of the pyramid, which is the largest, but poorest socio-economic group that has very little opportunity to move forward,” said Aman Foundation chief executive Ahsan Jamil. “he AmanTech vocational training institute targets male matriculates and equip them with a mix of vocational and soft skills training so that they could meet with the job market requirements.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 23rd, 2012.