ISLAMABAD: The best way to prevent frustrated and jobless youth falling prey into hands of terrorists is to impart them for vocational and technical training to help them get adequate jobs in various sectors of the industry, said NAVTTC Executive Director Zulfiqar Ahmed Cheema on Monday. Zulfiqar Cheema who recently took over as head of the National Vocational and Technical Training Commission (NAVTTC), said that 55 percent of the educated and hardworking youth of the country are a “double-edged weapon” whose potential could be transformed by enhancing their skills in various trades like plumbing, AutoCat, Information Technology (IT), welding, tailoring, cooking, baking and fashion design. Otherwise unemployment, poverty and frustration could lead them astray and into hands of criminal elements and terrorists, he added. Zulfiqar Cheema announced various steps to turn around NAVTTC by imparting quality training to the youth that are in demand both in domestic and international markets. He said that vocational training is the only effective tool for poverty reduction and to produce skilled manpower adding that job placement centres are being set up to make data of the skilled manpower available to the industry. He said that the NAVTTC is already in touch with the industry and is receiving their demands that would be helpful in making the curriculum and a strategy to train the youth for the adequate career placements. A Sector Skills Council (SSC) had also been established which would pinpoint the sectors in which skilled labour is required, he added. He urged the media to help remove the stigma attached with blue-collar jobs adding that the skilled labour could become a big source of earnings both for their families and for the country as a whole in form of remittances. He further said that the NAVTTC would also train the youth in various fields keeping in view the requirements of the international market where they could get jobs and remit the money home He said, “We have a lot of demand in different fields from many countries and we will train our youth as per market demand.” Zulfiqar Cheema said that the NAVTTC would follow Germany and Sri Lanka as role models in professional training education. Non-matric to high-level students will get benefit from the professional training scheme, he added. He said that vocational training to the youth is pivotal to economic and social development of the country. He said Pakistan’s human capital particularly the youth had great potential that is yet to be tapped adding that skill development is the only way to overcome poverty alleviation and by prioritising technical and vocational skills we can make our youth useful and productive citizens of the country. He further said that the NAVTTC is an apex body at the national level mandated to regulate, facilitate and coordinate framing of policies and providing directions to all stakeholders of Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector in the country. The NAVTTC is already holding skill competitions and would hold job fairs in all the provincial capitals and Islamabad in coming months of February and March. He said, “We plan to gather industrialists, trainees, trainers, school and college going students, parents, employers and TVET policy-makers at one platform. The aim is to interact, socialise and network with each other to explore and benefit from level of skill competencies, marketable trades and available employment opportunities for the youth.” The NAVTTC is also establishing skill-counseling desks across the country for the guidance of youth, he added. He said that a National Training Bureau (NTB) is being upgraded to meet the international standards of training so that the youth could be trained in modern trades. Cheema said that under the TVET Reform Support Programme funded by the EU, Netherlands, Germany and Norway, the NAVTTC had devised TVET policy and National Vocational Qualifications Framework (NVQF) policy to bring a paradigm shift in TVET delivery adding that for the first time in Pakistan, a Competency Based Training (CBT) programme had been launched in 97 institutes with expected 20,000 pass-outs. He further said that the NAVTTC had also completed the accreditation of 586 TVET programmes and institutes to improve quality of TVET and to create national standards. Likewise, National Skill Information System (NSIS) is made functional in NAVTTC, besides training of 85,000 teachers in pedagogical skills, he added. He said that the cooperative vocational training scheme had also been launched to provide skills to trainees with on-job-experience. “We are in contact with foreign ambassadors to get information about the market demand of their countries,” he added. The NAVTTC is also ready to train professionals in the field of agriculture, he said.