Textile factory in Faisalabad, Pakistan

Core area “Sustainable economic development, training and employment” Vocational education and job creation

In their efforts to foster sustainable growth, Pakistan and Germany focus on approaches that foster the creation of inclusive and sustainable employment. Primarily, they are to create employment for women. Another focus is training in promising occupations, especially for the large number of young people in Pakistan. There are lending programmes for the private sector to enable the business community to contribute to sustainable and inclusive employment.

There is a special focus on the development of the textile sector, which is Pakistan's strongest export industry. Germany provides support for an effective system of labour inspectors to improve compliance with labour, social and environmental standards and to help – in combination with efforts to enhance productivity – to increase companies' competitiveness.

Vocational education

In cooperation with the European Union, Germany is assisting Pakistan in fundamentally reforming its vocational training system, with a view to giving more young people training for the formal labour market. After all, innovations can only be captured if there are well-trained people. Another focus is on improving the quality of vocational training. This is addressed through efforts to adjust curricula, establish closer links between the private sector and the training facilities, and build the capacity of instructors and examiners so as to facilitate modern vocational training.

The vocational training programme works with more than 60 training institutions to improve training and examinations there, and so far there have been 486 agreements with businesses to give trainees an opportunity to take part in practical training modules at enterprises. Under the programme, as many as 60 curricula have already been developed, based, among other things, on labour market studies that have looked at current private sector needs. The programme also provides comprehensive support to the government's efforts to set up five centres of excellence for modern vocational training for vocational teachers and trainees.

Between 2017 and 2020, some 24,000 people (42 per cent of them women) have been trained in a number of occupations that are in demand in the private sector.

In that same period, 418 workshops were completed or newly set up at 195 public and private training institutions for competence-based training in various occupations.

Labour, social and environmental standards in the textile industry

The textile sector is Pakistan's most important manufacturing industry. Textile products account for about 60 per cent of the country's export earnings. Most textiles are produced in small and medium-sized enterprises operating in the informal sector. Significant weaknesses in occupational health and safety and with regard to social standards and environmental protection still persist in these companies. That is why the BMZ is funding a range of projects aimed at improving working conditions and social and environmental standards.

Among other things, advisory services and training have helped to improve working conditions for 3,819 workers in five companies in the years of 2017 to 2019 alone. Improvements include better health and safety and the use of more environmentally friendly chemicals. The enterprises now also provide safe drinking water and healthy, subsidised lunches for their workers. Separate washrooms and toilets have been set up for women, and a nursery school has been established. The programme has also succeeded in getting 100 per cent of all employees in the lower pay groups registered in the governmental social insurance system. The productivity of the companies in question has risen significantly in the course of these changes. From 2018 to 2019, they improved their annual turnover thanks to project interventions, while 4,437 employees were able to increase their incomes by an average of ten per cent.