Karachi: Today, as part of the ‘Age Limitless’ collaboration in Pakistan, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Punjab Skills Development Fund (PSDF) have signed a partnership agreement to undertake a research and development project in support of youth education, skills development and job placement.
PSDF will work with UNICEF, federal and provincial governments, and partners from civil society organisations and the private sector to establish and pre-test the ‘Non-Formal Education to Job Placement’ model in Punjab.
It seeks to provide a special, comprehensive approach by (1) concurrently offering options for youth and young adults aged 10-19 who are outside the formal school system to participate in an Advanced Learning Programme.
Through this they will acquire essential literacy and numeracy skills at primary school; (2) empower those who have attained grade 5 skill level with employment and entrepreneurship skills through preparation to improve their capacity to access generational prospects for non-hazardous income; and (3) connect young people who have successfully graduated from the programme to the labor market.
“We are proud that UNICEF has partnered in Pakistan with PSDF for this landmark initiative to educate and empower out-of-school teenagers,” said Mr Jawad Khan, PSDF CEO.
“This is recognition of PSDF as the most innovative and progressive development sector organization in Pakistan. PSDF has deep knowledge in skills training gained through managing large evidence-based and demand-driven programs, operational excellence achieved through working with largest international donors, and unmatched ability to deliver results as PSDF graduates generate annual incomes of PKR 20 Billion.”
The project is part of the ‘Generation Limitless’ (GenU) collaboration in Pakistan, which aims to establish a movement to help young people gain the education and skills training needed to access job opportunities, particularly teenage girls and boys between the ages of 10 and 19.
The multi-sector partnership forum of GenU brings together government, private sector, civil society organizations, and development partners and forges creative partnerships with young people to extend and connect formal education and skills development.
UNICEF Representative in Pakistan, Ms Aida Girma, said “Pakistan has the largest generation of young people in its history, which provides unique challenges as well as opportunities,”
It embraces the ‘Age Infinite’ vision of putting together public and private partners to engage in young people in order to help them fulfill their potential whilst fostering economic and social growth.
As a first step, the model will be built and pre-tested in Punjab. In the future, the aim is to introduce parallel projects in other provinces to attract millions of young people who lack resources.