Enabling Women Entrepreneurs
The Sindh Technical Education Vocational Training Authority (STEVTA) in Karachi functions under the Directorate of Manpower and Training, Labour Department. STEVTA has evolved from the Technical Training Centre for Women (WTTC). The newly-formed body is a collective setup comprising technical schools of the Labour Department, Vocational and Polytechnic Institutes of the Education Department and also institutes of the Social Welfare Department.
The Centre was established in 1983 to address the professional needs of women in the fast developing industrial city of Karachi. The Government of Sindh and Women’s Division played a significant role in funding of the institute for providing a successful source of pre-employment skills to educated women.
The Centre is facilitated by World Bank, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the GTZ and European Union as donor bodies. The Federal Ministry of Labour and overseas Pakistanis are also an active support system for the national vocational training projects run by the centre. Through the involvement of CIDA, vocational training standards have been made compliant with international business standards.
Spread over an area of 1.4 acres, the facility is custom-designed for women. It is guided by the mission statement of providing security and empowerment to women for accessing employment or selfemployment, followed by the goal to avoid inconvenience to them in fulfilling their family obligations.
Initially the centre was equipped with only three vocational trades - civil architectural drafting, radio/television repairing and repairing of domestic electrical appliances. The inception of CIDA assistance under NVTP phase II, enabled the centre to also offer computer software development.
When the World Bank announced the establishment of Central Management Committee in 1993; the purpose was to move from public partnership to public-private partnership in order to offer demand-driven vocational training prospects rather than supply driven training. CMC is a tripartite body comprising employer’s representatives, worker’s representatives and government representatives.
Ms. Perveen A. Shaikh chairs the body. She is the employer from the local leading industry nominated by the Provincial Training Board (PTB), while Ms. Naheed Nasir, Principal WTTC, is Member Secretary of CMC.
Training courses at the centre cover a wide range from Information Technology, Garments, Office Administration, Architecture, Interior Designing, Electronics, Beautician courses and Arts and Crafts. The trades and courses offered by the centre have a fee structure ranging from Rs. 100 to Rs. 1500, varying according to monthly and package fee and particular course requirements. Diploma courses are customarily designed incorporating theory and practicals to provide extensive work experience to fresh graduates for easy entrance into the job market.
The centre serves as a platform for employers to seek suitable candidates for their businesses. This facility is basically providing job assistance to passing out trainees of the center.
Another significant feature is the Product Display and Sales Centre which showcases and sells products produced by the trainees. The display centre functions as an outlet accessible to all womenfolk for trades such as dress designing, bed cover and cushion designing and curtain designing.
The former WTTC, now STEVTA, claims to be the pioneering body in the vocational training sector, offering new demanddriven courses. The future plans of the centre for Diploma in Digital Media, Textile and Crafts and Early Childhood Educational Training and the establishment of a Daycare Centre, are promising prospects for sustained development.
STEVTA is certainly leveraging efforts of the government to create opportunities for women to embrace change and practice social responsibility