KATHMANDU, Oct 1: During an interactive session on 'Policy Discourse: Skill Development,' organized by the Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI), speakers voiced concerns about the shortage of skilled labor in Nepal's industrial sector. They revealed that many industrialists are compelled to hire foreign workers due to the lack of adequately trained local manpower.
Kewal Prasad Bhandari, secretary of the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security, underscored the reliance on foreign skilled workers in Nepali industries. He cited examples such as over 7,500 skilled plumbers from the Orissa region of India working in the Kathmandu Valley and the demand for Indian craftsmen in the jewelry sector. Additionally, Bangladeshi workers have been recruited for furniture-related work.
Bhandari attributed this phenomenon to the Nepali youth's preference for employment abroad rather than undergoing training and taking up jobs in Nepal. He mentioned that 92 percent of those leaving Nepal for foreign employment lack the necessary skills or job-related knowledge.
While foreign employment opportunities are limited for Nepali youth, the lack of vocational training tailored to the local job market necessitates the hiring of foreign labor.
The Kathmandu Valley, in particular, faces a significant demand for foreign skilled workers in sectors such as garment production and gold and silver craftsmanship. However, native workers exhibit limited interest in pursuing careers in these fields.
Dr Toya Gyawali, secretary of the National Planning Commission, highlighted the disconnect between vocational education and industry requirements as a root issue. He stressed the need for coordination between vocational education institutions and the industrial sector to bridge this gap.
Dr Gyawali emphasized the potential for trained Nepali workers to secure foreign employment opportunities and generate higher remittances if adequately skilled.
Birendra Raj Pandey, acting president of CNI, expressed concerns over the diminishing production capacity of Nepali manpower due to a lack of skills. He noted that even institutions providing skill training are unable to produce the skilled workforce needed by Nepal's industries.
Lekhraj Pokharel, senior vice president of the Bagmati Province Industry Confederation under CNI, echoed these concerns and called for vocational training institutions to focus on producing manpower aligned with the country's needs.
Vidushi Rana, owner of Goldstar Shoes, called for the immediate development of training courses related to footwear, highlighting the absence of such courses at present.