All Pakistan Business Forum has stressed the need for promoting skills development according to the private sector demand, saying the skilled youth can fulfill the industrial human resource needs, besides uplifting national economy.

APBF President Syed Maaz Mahmood said that the employability rate of graduates from the formal TVET system is very low due to lack of quality and relevance of the training content, as about 3 million youth enter the labour market while formal TVET system can only accommodate just 0.5 million trainees annually. He said the gap between demand and supply of skilled workforce is due to limited cooperation between the public and the private sector in TVET planning and its implementation. He appreciated the efforts of TVET Sector Support Programme being funded by the European Union and the governments of Germany and Norway.

Sharing the experiences of EU countries, he said the EU countries mitigated their economic woes through skill development as skilled human resource was the key to surmount economic efficiency challenges of the country. He termed the skill development as key priority to provide maximum jobs.

He said that Pakistan, having about 65 percent of population of 30 years old, has an opportunity to grow its industry through promotion of quality vocational training and technical education.

Maaz Mahmood said that one of the main issues is the mismatch between the skills provided by the TVET institutes and the needs of the market. So the major challenge is to make sure that there are good linkages between the needs of the industry and what the TVET sector is producing in terms of skills.

He said that the APBF had also organized a Forum to discuss the key economic issues, including development of a better Skilled Workforce to cope with the emerging trends and need for global competitiveness, where a large number of learned speakers, entrepreneurs and leading diplomats had gathered.

He said that one of the major sessions of the event focused on development of skilled workforce where the experts discussed ways to increase productivity and exports, fulfill industry requirements, anticipate future trends and appreciate the efforts made by international partners.

APBF president asked the government to devise a comprehensive reforms program, where private sector should be given the primary role as they are the main employers and beneficiaries of the workforce. He added that abundant availability of human resource, flexible labour laws, and availability of raw material make Pakistan the best place for investment.

He said that Pakistan can learn from the experiences of the EU.

The EU has been a partner of the government for introducing reforms in the TVET sector reforms since April 2011 under the TVET Sector Support Programmes. The Programme is funded by the EU, the Federal Republic of Germany and the Royal Norwegian Embassy.