Near the Korangi Fish Harbour in Karachi, Pakistan, there is a proud, state-of-the-art building offering a range of training courses to give young people and members of the local community the chance to build skills and boost employability.
The SOS Children’s Villages Technical Training Institute, designed by architect Habib Fida Ali, provides vocational training for a number of professions, including electrician, machinist and welding. In addition, the centre offers courses in ICT 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 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 recognised as an approved centre for technical training by the City and Guilds of London Institute.
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 business. Training as an electrician offers more job avenues. I could also start my own business,” said Junaid, 19, a student who is 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,” he says.
SOS Children’s Villages runs 52 projects in Pakistan, including 14 SOS Children’s Villages and five social centres. Currently, there are 1,750 children in SOS Children’s Villages Pakistan family-like care. SOS schools across the country educate over 7,400 children from SOS programmes and disadvantaged children. Established in 1975, it is the largest private child social welfare organisation in the country.
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