Engaging Private Sector in TVET – Rastgar’s insights on challenges of sector

Founder Editor Tazeen Akhtar..

Born in Jalandhar, oldest inhabited major city in the Indian state of Punjab, Rastgar was just two years when his parents moved to Pakistan in 1947. Jalandhar has undergone rapid urbanization and has developed into a highly industrialized center of commerce. Home to many entrepreneurs and Bollywood legends, Rastgar was gifted talent by birth.

While growing up in Rawalpindi, which was once the hub of trade (by Sikhs and Hindus), he realized that several basic commodities such as burialsheets, sugar and potatoes etc. are not available in the market. It was then, in his early age when he decided to do his own business. When moved to Sarghoda for his high school, he realized it even more.

After his business graduation, he started his own business and soon realized need of technical diplomafor his own learning. Starting his firm with 3 employees to now more than 400, Imtiaz is an accomplished businessman today who strongly believes in HR development. Founder and Chairman of Rastgar Group, he has also been onboards of several government organizations and trade bodies. While he was Chief Executive of Pakistan Engineering Board, for three years, he has made tremendous contributions to TVET sector of Pakistan.

Rastgar believes that engaging chambers of commerce to can help flourishing TVET. Also, chambers/ industry should set up own technical institutions as per their specific needs.

‘I appreciate work TVET SSP is doing such as private sector engagement forums; establishment of institutional management committees but more is to be done. Like universities, poly technical institutes should alsobe rankedbased on their linkages and contributionto industry.’siadRastgar in a recent interview.He believes that basic computer literacy and good communication skills supersede all other skills. Most of our engineers, polytechnic graduates lack these skills.

He reinforced that Competency Based Training (CBT) and Recognition of Prior Learning(RPL) are excellent initiative as these help employers gaugeemployee skills. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) should be about how many people trained and not just donations.

With more than 50 percent of Pakistan population as youth, annual supply of skilled workforce from is around 344,813 but only a few are technically well qualified. The Government of Pakistan has devised a comprehensive reforms program and a formal National Skills Strategy in 2009, specifying that private sector should be given the primary role as they are the main employers and beneficiaries of workforce. However it remainsa challenge for TVET sector.

Working since 2011, TVET Sector Support Programme (SSP) is extending its support to train 3,550 teachers, 1,500 assessors, 500 principals from public and 48,500 workforce, of which 30% are inspired to be women. Funded by the European Union, Governments of Germany and Norway, it aims to expedite reform processes based on the national TVET policy and the National Vocational Qualifications Framework (NVQF).

Rastgar added that abundant availability of HR, flexible labor laws, and availability of raw material makes Pakistan a best place to do business. He proudly shares that all his three sons are running their own business. People like him are great examples as they not contribute to both supply and demand of workforce and helpflourish TVET sector of Pakistan.