February 8 2018 Empowering a Community Through Vocational Education With your help, youth in Pakistan are learning technical skills to succeed in the work force. KARACHI, Pakistan—Near the Korangi Fish Harbor in Sindh is a state-of-the-art building offering a range of trainings and workshops to give young people and members of the local community the chance to build skills and boost employability. Young people all over the world are facing challenges when trying to find work and transition to independence. A recently released report by the International Labor Agency estimates as many as 71 million young people worldwide are unemployed. According to the Survey of Labor Statistics, the youth unemployment rate in Pakistan ranges from 11 percent to as high as 40 percent. The SOS Children’s Villages Technical Training Institute provides vocational training for a number of trades, including electrician, machinist, and welder. In addition, the center offers courses in Information and Communication Technology and English. “The institute is playing a vital role in improving the technical skills of youth in this area. The technical skills enable the students to get a job or start their own business,” explains Mehboob Ur Rehman, a teacher at the institute. “The institute has been able to offer an alternative opportunity to the underprivileged young people of the community to make a better life for themselves and their families. We have been able to make a safer and happier community.” Empowering young people, particularly young women, is central to the institute’s mission. Girls are encouraged to train in any trade of their choice. As the courses are free, they are accessible to members of the local community. The training institute aims to provide a high standard of technical and vocational training to meet entry-level needs of the job market in Karachi as well as Pakistan as a whole. The institute is also recognized as an approved center for technical training by City and Guilds of London Institute. The SOS Children’s Village Sindh sponsors top performers to appear in the City and Guilds examination. Successful candidates are awarded certificates that are internationally recognized which improve their prospects of employment both locally and abroad. The institute works closely with leaders in relevant industries so courses can be adapted to meet changes in the field. Courses are between four and six months long and include a mix of theoretical and practical knowledge, allowing them to be tailored to the needs of each industry. “I chose vocational training as it offered early prospects for finding a job or starting my own work. I chose training as an electrician as it offered more job avenues. I could also start my own business,” said Junaid, 19, a student training to become an electrician. He has high hopes for the future, including wanting to pursue further education in this area. “I would like to be an efficient and successful electrician in a reputable industry.” SOS Children’s Villages Pakistan runs 14 SOS Villages, 5 Social Centers and 33 community programs, such as the vocational education program. Currently, there are 1,750 children in SOS Pakistan’s family-based care programs. SOS schools across the country educate over 7,400 children, including children in SOS Villages and disadvantaged children in the community. Established in 1975, it is the largest private child social welfare organization in the country.