KARACHI: Asmaa Khalil and Sadia Khalil, two sisters, had been living happily in Pakistan’s commercial hub city of Karachi till they lost their father Khalil in September 2012. Khalil, family’s sole bread-earner, lost his life in a fire incident in a garment factory in city’s suburb Baldia Town that killed around 300 people. After the tragedy, like other affected families, life for both Asmaa and Sadia became depressed and handling financial matters became complex. Both teen sisters had average education. To get employment, both girls took admission in Competency Based Training and Assessment (CBT & A), vocational training course offered at Vocational Training Institute for Women in Karachi’s Bufferzone area.“The training helped us getting jobs and move towards self-dependency. Now only this, we have been also become a financial supporter to our family,” 23-years old Asmaa told. “Today I am working as Data Processing Assistant as contract employee whereas Sadia, my younger sister, working as beautician,” she added. Government announced to provide permanent jobs to the group. “We hope that promise made by former Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah to make us permanent employee would be fulfilled,” Asma told. According to said Nahid Nisar, Principal VTI, the courses offered are useful in getting them job opportunities in office administration, health related fields especially in healthcare facilities, therapy, skin care, fashion designing, information technology, business administration and others. The training is helping youth, especially women who have otherwise very limited opportunities, to earn their livelihood.“The initiative is aimed to improve observable, demonstrable and assessable performance of the students and enabling them to acquire competencies, which are recognized by the industry. Through CBT&A system the students were getting employment opportunities here and abroad,” Nahid added. “These courses are proving a light at the end of tunnel for youth who have otherwise limited opportunities in the society for skill development,” she added.The National Vocational and Technical Training Commission (NAVTTC) in the country have launched competency-based training and assessment (CBT&A) to focus on skills, knowledge, understanding and attitudes/values of students. The NAVTTC, Technical Education & Vocational Training Authorities (TEVTAs), Trade Testing Boards (TTBs), Punjab Vocational Training Council (PVTC), Punjab Board of Technical Education and a number of private sector TVET institutes have jointly introduced CBT&A in selected vocational trades across Pakistan including Sindh province.TVET sector support programme is funded by the European Union and the Federal Republic of Germany. The TVET SSP is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in close collaboration with the National Vocational and Technical Training Commission (NAVTTC) as well as provincial Technical Education and Vocational Training Authorities (TEVTAs) and private sector organizations. The program anticipates training as many as 1,500 assessors and principals in different trades to improve the training delivery and assessment standards in the TVET sector. Published in Daily Times, August 29th 2017.