ISLAMABAD(Manend News) A skilled and adaptable workforce is the linchpin that allows the SEZs to attract investment, foster innovation, produce high-quality goods and services, and contribute to the broader economic development of Pakistan. To fully realize the SEZs’ potential, focus on human capital development must remain at the forefront of the development strategy. Dr. Tahir Mumtaz, Director of China Study Centre, COMSATS Islamabad, said this while speaking to WealthPK. “Human resources is one of the key resources for any economy. A skilled and trained workforce is always encouraging for foreign investors. So, if the youth are provided with technical training in different fields, they can compete in international markets and contribute to the economic development of their own country,” he said. “It is a noticeable fact that Pakistan has been producing a greater number of engineers and university graduates in multiple disciplines and fields. According to the Pakistan Engineering Council report 2021, over 100,000 engineers are jobless in Pakistan. “The current phase of SEZs within the CPEC holds the potential to offer significant opportunities for employment to the unemployed youth. This multibillion-dollar project is expected to open significant avenues of employment for the domestic labour force, especially after the establishment of the SEZs.” Dr. Tahir added, “Pakistan needs to focus on improving the level of human capital in the economy so as to ensure that both the existing and incoming labor forces are skilled enough to meet the growing technical requirements of the evolving nature of work.” “In Phase-II, it is essential for the authorities concerned to equip the young unemployed graduates with skills. This means extensive focus is still required on the human capital development of young graduates so that the Pakistani workforce gains an upper hand in the highly technical work in the ongoing phase,” he stressed. Talking to WealthPK, Dr. Amanat Ali, Assistant Professor and Researcher at the School of Economics, Quaid Azam University, Islamabad, said, “Pakistan needs to take some more pragmatic steps to increase the capacity of human capital. This necessitates a pragmatic approach, starting with the reinforcement of underperforming vocational training programs.” “The existing programs must be adequately resourced to offer a wider range of skill enhancement opportunities, particularly focusing on addressing the inadequacy in core professional training for fresh graduates and engineers. By incorporating graduate training into these programs, Pakistan can significantly increase the potential of its unskilled labor force,” Dr Amanat suggested. “Additionally, it is crucial to provide the university graduates with training in their final terms before they transition into the job market. Instead of burdening them with extensive and often unproductive academic textbooks, it is essential to make project-based training mandatory.” “This approach will contribute significantly to bolstering the available human capital, which can subsequently be harnessed for larger projects like CPEC,” he stated.