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By education Syed Nazar Ali is a Mechanical Engineer and a MBA. He is the Chief Executive of Skill Development Council (SDC), a project of Ministry of Labour, Manpower and Overseas Pakistanis. Established in 1995-96 on the initiative of World Bank, ILO and Employers' Federation of Pakistan the primary objective of SDC is to develop a technical vocational training programme which is demand-driven, flexible and cost effective and seeks maximum involvement of employers the end-user of trained manpower. SDC was created under the National Vocational Training Project by various donors including EEC, German Technical Assistance, etc. Nazar has been associated with the Sindh Ministry of Labour serving under many capacities as Deputy Director, Joint Director and specializes in Technical, Vocational, Education and Training as Human Resource consultant. He has also worked as consultant for the ILO in strengthening a new approach of public -private partnership through center management committee by professional engineers and has participated in various national and international conferences related to his specific sphere of work.

By Syed M. Aslam
May 13 -19, 2002

PAGE: What's the relevance of SDC's role in Pakistan?

Syed Nazar Ali: The primary objective of the SDC is the social uplifting of the financially disadvantaged masses by providing them affordable vocational training to enable them to get employment or self-employment. The benefits are twofold personal well-being and the growth of the national economy. It also aims to bring back the forgotten motto of 'dignity of labour', particularly in blue-collar jobs, as per the teachings of Islam. The instillation of this dignity, in turn, will help remove taboos associated with blue-collar jobs to enhance image of this class which presently is limiting the growth of trained vocational workforce in the country. This, in turn, is resulting in inferior craftsmanship and products thereby eroding our ability to compete in the international markets thus stagnating our export base.

PAGE: What's been the SDC's contribution?

Syed Nazar Ali: SDC has been much successful in catering to the needs of human capital development by arranging training to over 10,000 youths in Karachi, Sindh, one-fourth of them females. It has also imparted training to another 4,000 employed persons to upgrade their skills pertaining to ISO 9000, communications, quality management systems, etc. SDC offers training in many fields such as industrial electronics, instrumentation, air conditioning, refrigeration, automobile, medical equipments and of course IT. The duration of courses offered by SDC lasts from 2 to 12 months comprising basic technical courses to professional competency-based training programmes.

PAGE: What is the fee structure like?

Syed Nazar Ali: The fee structure varies from course to course depending on the level of skill, facilities offered by the partner training institute and the qualification of its teaching faculty. For instance, the fee of basic course in Machine Shop , auto, computer literacy, etc., runs from Rs 350-750 per month. However, the fees professional development courses costs any where from Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,000 per month.

PAGE: Does SDC has its own institutions?

Syed Nazar Ali: No, SDC does not run the courses itself but rather collaborates with the existing institutions, both public and private, to offer the courses. It selects the institution based on training required for each course. However, SDC designs and develops all the courses on the basis of the assessment of the training need by involving the experts and training professionals from the relevant industry through its technical committee. After the development of the courses SDC identify the institutes having the requisite infrastructure and training facilities including the faculty for that particular course. There are over 100 SDC-partner institutions in Karachi alone.

PAGE: Does SDC offer financial assistance?

Syed Nazar Ali: SDC has introduced a financial assistance programme for needy youths, particularly females. Under this programme over 600 students have been provided either wholly free or half free training to over 600 such youths. In addition, at present SDC has initiated the programme of providing free professional and vocational training to the workers and their children. Some 185 workers and children have completed this training while another 222 are still doing it. This three-month programme has been so success that the federal ministry of labour is now planning to extend this programme shortly to unlimited number of workers and their children paid from the resources available from Workers' Welfare Fund.

PAGE: What's SDC doing to help eradicate the problem of child-labour?

Syed Nazar Ali: To help eradicate child-labour SDC has also introduced an education-cum-vocational training programme for the children working in small workshops and garages with the support of ILO. Under this ongoing programme 117 children in poor areas of Lyari, Qasbah Colony and Orangi Town are receiving this particular training.