Interview: OPF-Iftikhar Babar

OPF plans vocational training for overseas Pakistanis

By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, Mar 29, 2014

DUBAI: The Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF) has started implementing a comprehensive plan to provide vocational training to young people all over the country to get better jobs abroad.
In the first phase, three existing vocational training centres started enrolment of over 1000 people to impart training of different skills as a short course of three and six months.
This was stated by Iftikhar Babar, managing director of OPF, in an exclusive interview with The Gulf Today in Dubai.
He was visiting as a delegate to attend the 2-day workshop organised by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) in Dubai last week.
“The OPF, a body under the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resources Development, Pakistan is dealing only with legal migrants but we were invited to exchange our expertise on legal migrations,” he said, about the workshop.
The OPF was set up in 1979 and had given the mandate to provide vocational training to people who seek job opportunities abroad.
“During the 16 years, the 14 centres spread all over the country had trained over 60,000 people in different fields. As these centres were consuming a huge amount of subsidy, around Rs250 million every year, the ministry decided to shut down. But since I joined the OPF in 2013, I had started work round the clock to revive some of the vocational training centres to train and send skilled labour abroad,” he said.
In the wake of Expo 2020 in Dubai, FIFA World Cup in Qatar 2022 and billions of dollar ongoing projects in Saudi Arabia, the OPF saw a huge potential in the employment sector and grab the share of skilled professionals to provide the Pakistani workforce.
“We have a huge potential for our workforce in the future and through the last one year efforts the OPF has started operating one vocational training centre in Peshawar while through partnership with two existing such centres in the private sector in Punjab, we provided around 2000 people getting different skills,” he added.
Through this partnership with two private vocational centres and bringing more such centres, the OPF is eyeing training every year around 20,000 people to meet the demand in the Middle East.
Babar pointed that they are engaged with a couple of major training centres in Karachi and other cities to provide more people to train.
The organisation is also planning to hold a workshop in Dubai to bring different stake holders like major recruitment companies and employers to discuss the upcoming job opportunities and select the number of sectors where the need is high and the OPF could provide training to its candidates and get a better job.
“If our citizens get better jobs abroad, they will be a major source to boost the country’s economy to send their remittance as well as provide a better lifestyle for their families back home,” Babar said.

~ by jamilkhan on March 29, 2014.

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