New ways: Plans afoot to revive apprenticeships

Govt to amend Apprenticeship Ordinance 1962.

Riazul Haq July 28, 2014

ISLAMABAD: The government is planning to amend the Apprenticeship Ordinance 1962 by adding new provisions to easier to implement and more trade and industry friendly.

The 1962 ordinance replaced the Apprenticeship Act, 1850 but according to many, its implementation was near-impossible due to the tough rules.

Apprenticeship is a system of training people and passing on a set of skills to them.

Apprenticeships are mostly found in craft jobs that demand technical ability, which requires specialised training under a skilled and licensed professional.

Many jobs such as carpentry and plumbing require hands-on-experience as well as industry knowledge.

Since the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training is looking after technical and vocational education and training (TVET) related subjects such as the National Vocational and Technical Training Commission (NAVTTC), its minister Baligur Rehman has opted to amend the law to make it more industry friendly.

“Usually, inspectors visit industries or trade centres without ascertaining basic facts, such as whether the ordinance is being followed, and just issue the certificate of clearance,” Rehman said.

Under the amendment being mulled, any organisation with over 20 employees will have to give apprenticeships to five per cent of total staff.

Currently, the requirement is 20 per cent of total employees, which often leaves employers unable or uninterested in following the requirement.

Besides, tax incentives will be given to organisations against the cost of training apprentices.

Similarly, the government will pay the apprentice 50% of the minimum wage, similar to the National Internship Programme.

Earlier, an apprentice would be considered an employee of the organisation as he would work there, though on training.

But in the amendment, a new provision will be added to change their rank to “trainee”.

After completions of the apprenticeship, the organisation would issue a certificate detailing apprenticeship duration and the on-the-job skills acquired.

Rehman told The Express Tribune that the drafting of this law will be completed in August 2014 and will later be sent to the Law Ministry for vetting.

“After that, we will place it before the cabinet and get it through the parliament,” he remarked.

The minister was hopeful that the law will be amended and implemented by the end of the calendar year.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2014.