Financial assistance: As government looks the other way, TUSDEC turns to private sector

Skills development company has trained 18,000 people in various sectors.

Shahram Haq October 29, 2012

LAHORE: The Technology Upgrading and Skill Development Company (Tusdec), incorporated in 2005 by the government with the aim of promoting technology and upgrading skills of workers in key industrial sectors, has of late become entirely dependent on the private sector and funding agencies to run its affairs.

The management of Tusdec has joined hands with different fund providers as the government has stopped releasing money. Tusdec has already developed some projects via public-private partnership and has trained around 18,000 people in various sectors including engineering, construction, hospitality, travel, gems and jewellery, marble, hardware and others.

“The company has to achieve the targets it was made for, no matter where we receive the funds. We will continue to provide technology upgrading and skill development services to entrepreneurs and their staff,” says Syed Anwar Ali Pervaiz, Chief Executive Officer of Tusdec while talking to The Express Tribune.

Tusdec has collaborated with the European Union for executing a couple of projects, including a 3-million-euro skill development programme for 6,000 people and a 4-million-euro training programme for 1,200 people in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to enable them to become entrepreneurs or at least add to their share in the national exchequer by serving any sector.

Although Tusdec seems to be unknown to the general public, many company owners send their staff to Tusdec centres for developing their skills, he says.

Pakistan’s population is growing at a rapid pace and with that the ranks of workers, making it impossible for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) centres of Tusdec to impart technical skills to all. This has led to an increase in unemployment, particularly among youth, in the country.

At present, about 315,000 institutes are providing technical and vocational education and training to less than 6% of young people and only 2.3% have received on-job training.

This reflects the low competence level of the workforce, who may be unable to deliver enough for improving productivity and competitiveness of different enterprises.

“So far, we have developed Rs4 billion worth of projects,” says Pervaiz. These include Tools, Dyes and Mould Centre in Karachi and Gujranwala, Ceramic Development and Training Complex in Gujranwala and National Institute of Design and Analysis in five mega cities, which has upgraded the skills of 10,000 engineers.

Tusdec has also established four skill development centres in earthquake-hit areas of Batgram and Mansehra where hospitality and tourism courses were offered.

“Out of 7,000 people trained in these areas, about 70% have preferred to start their own business in the tourism and hospitality industry,” says Pervaiz.

Others are also doing well by making useful contribution to the development of companies where they are working and the country’s economy, he says.

He boasts about the researchers and engineers of Tusdec, saying they are highly qualified and almost everyone is foreign educated. Research teams of the company assess every sector of the economy to determine their potential and look for gaps between Pakistan and the modern world.

“I believe that technology advancement is one of the most potential factors, attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), as individuals and businesses focus on efficient production, ease of operations and skilled manpower alongside incentives for investment,” he says.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 30th, 2012.


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