PSDF UK impact bond jobs

Pakistan-UK Collaboration for First Ever Employment Bond to Give Jobs to 40,000 Individuals

The British Asian Trust together with leading British Asian business leaders and the Punjab Skills Development Fund (PSDF) has signed a landmark agreement at the British Deputy High Commission in Karachi.

The signing formalized their partnership to build Pakistan’s first Employment Impact Bond and was hosted by Martin Dawson, Deputy Head of Mission.

The human capital constraint is a critical factor for Pakistan’s slow economic growth and low global competitiveness. With over four million youth becoming working-age in Pakistan each year, equipping them with future-ready skills can serve as a powerful driver for economic advancement in the country.

he Employment Impact Bond is being designed to ensure 40,000 jobs for young people in key growth sectors and drive a focus on long-term employment outcomes while unlocking new capital to fund social impact in Pakistan.

Impact bonds are innovative financing instruments that leverage private sector capital and expertise for development, with a focus on achieving results. They shift the focus from inputs to outcomes, performance, and results through financial incentives.

Global interest in this initiative has already led to the British Asian Trust and PSDF being awarded design funding from the Outcomes Accelerator created by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and UBS Optimus Foundation and managed by Levoca. The design of the impact bond will draw on successful examples from global contexts and will benefit from the British Asian Trust and PSDF’s shared expertise in innovative finance and skilling.

Kamyla Marvi, British Asian Trust Pakistan Director, said, “This partnership with PSDF marks a significant milestone in our efforts to drive employment for the youth of Pakistan. We are excited to bring international expertise to support the local design of the country’s first impact bond for employment. We genuinely believe that this is an opportunity to transform the approach to development finance in Pakistan leading to greater innovation, efficiency and scale.”

At the signing ceremony, Ali Akbar Bosan, COO PSDF, said, “This pioneering initiative represents a revolutionary approach to funding skills training, set to transform the landscape of skilled workforce development. The feasibility study will evaluate the potential impact, scalability, and financial viability of the Employment Impact Bond, laying the foundations for future programs. This first-of-its-kind venture in Pakistan is our commitment to innovative solutions that address the pressing need for skilled labor, promising a significant shift in how skills training programs are financed and implemented.”


PSDF and NAVTTC Join Hands to Train the Youth

The Punjab Skills Development Fund (PSDF) and the National Vocational and Technical Training Commission (NAVTTC) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) through which PSDF will impart training on behalf of NAVTTC among the youth across the country.

Speaking on the occasion, PSDF Chief Operating Officer, Ali Akbar Bosan, stressed the need to learn international practices and improve the local curriculum to global standards.

“There is a need to bridge the gap between the local and international curriculum so the country produces skilled manpower in accordance with international demand,” Mr Bosan said, adding that by doing so, the Pakistani workforce can place itself better in the international market.

NAVTCC Chairperson Gulmina Bilal Ahmad urged imposing the youth emergency.

“There is a need to take targeted steps to stop failing the youth and make them useful and important to society.

There is also a need to focus more on Balochistan for churning out more and more training there,” she said.

PSDF Board member, Dr Ijaz Nabi, observed that by signing the MoU with NAVTTC, the PSDF has now been moving towards its objective of creating a skill development institution.

He further suggested expanding the PSDF across the country and industries other than through government funding.

By the virtue of MoU, the outreach of PSDF has now expanded across the country, previously limited to Punjab.

As per a statement, collaborative efforts would be made in digital training and certifi cations of locally trained youth so they could be placed in the international market easily.

Both the organisations also agreed to conduct the sector studies and training need analysis (TNA) for local and international demand generation, other than the studies and impact evaluations of the skills training programmes.

Both the organisations will collaborate in imparting skills training to the youth of the country through training programmes in the construction, hospitality, and IT sectors.

These trainings will be imparted with a focus on at least 30 per cent of graduates getting employment,” it stated.

The training would be imparted in 16 districts across the country, including Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Rahim Yar Khan, Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Peshawar, Nowshera, Abbottabad, Quetta, Gilgit, and Muzaffarabad.

Furthermore, both organisations have agreed to collaborate on curriculum upgrades.


PSDF and OGDCL to Impart Skills Training to the Youth

Punjab Skills Development Fund (PSDF) and Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL) have formalised a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide free skills training to 150 individuals in Attock, Chakwal, and DG Khan districts.

The collaborative initiative aims to enhance employability and create income-generating opportunities for the youth, with a special emphasis on gender inclusivity. Out of the 150 trainees, 50% will be women, reflecting a commitment to provide income generation opportunities for trainees and uplifting them. 

The training program will cover a diverse range of trades, including graphic design, beautician, domestic tailoring, electrician, hand embroidery, and welding. These trades have been selected strategically, taking into consideration the cultural norms and economic landscape of the target districts, aiming to equip the youth with skills that align with the local demand.

At the MoU signing ceremony, Ali Akbar Bosan, COO PSDF said “We believe in the transformative power of skills training to shape the future of our youth. Through this collaboration with OGDCL, we are not just imparting skills; we are fostering a culture of empowerment. At PSDF, we are committed to being catalysts of change, creating pathways for the youth to unlock their full potential and contribute meaningfully to the development of Attock, Chakwal, and DG Khan districts.”


PSDF Courses: Graduates Have Capacity to Earn More as Compared to Others

The graduates of the skill development courses offered by the Punjab Skill Development Fund (PSDF) have the capacity to earn more as compared to the others.

According to an in-depth study conducted by the Centre for Research in Economics and Business (CREB) of the Lahore School of Economics revealed that a set of courses offered by the PSDF to youth of the Punjab has resulted in gaining of their monthly income more than Rs 14,000.

The study elaborated that the PSDF initiated a partnership with Coursera, a renowned online learning platform that offers more than 7,000 courses designed by international organizations and universities to the youth of the Punjab in order to bring them at the forefront of the digital revolution.

A certificate from Coursera platform not only opens doors to the youth in Pakistan alone but also around the world, making Pakistani them globally competitive.

According to the official data of Ministry of IT and Telecommunication (MoITT), the year 2022 saw a growth of 2.74 percent as foreign exchange from freelancing stood at $397.328 million as compared to 396.243 million in 2021 in Pakistan. There were around 3 million freelancers in Pakistan in 2022. Pakistan is emerging as a hub for freelancers, and the income potential is limitless.

The study revealed that more than 1200 students completed the internationally recognized Coursera courses from the PSDF platform. Furthermore, to substantiate the impact of this collaboration is witnessed in the income of these graduates.

The transition-to-work is 9 percent points higher amongst trainees who completed the course and were unemployed before the programme and experiencing income gains exceedingly more than Rs 14,000 per month.

This showcases the tremendous potential that these courses offer, with Python, financial accounting, and graphic design courses ranking among the top three contributors to higher income gains.

According to the SBP report, Pakistan sees an annual supply of 20,000 to 25,000 fresh engineering and IT graduates but only 10 percent IT graduates are employable. There is a huge skills gap in the global IT requirements. The courses offered by the PSDF in collaboration with Coursera is helping the youth to unleash these opportunities.


PSDF Completes Programme for Out-of-School Adolescents(OOSA) in Punjab with UNICEF Support

The project “Evidence Generation and Design of ‘Non-Formal Education to Job Placement’ programme for Out-of-School Adolescents (OOSA) of Punjab,” marked a significant milestone with its successful completion. The project was a collaborative effort between Punjab Skills Development Fund (PSDF) and UNICEF, with technical support from Oxford Policy Management (OPM) and Akhuwat.

The partnership harnessed collective expertise to conceptualize an innovative, evidence-based programme to integrate accelerated learning, skills training and labour market linkages. This created a model to offer a cost-effective, hybrid solution whereby accelerated learning is integrated with skills development and linked with sustainable income generating and self-employment opportunities for out-of-school adolescents.

Over 9,500 out-of-school adolescents aged between 9 and 19 from six districts in Punjab, Lahore, Faisalabad, Rajanpur, Dera Ghazi Khan, Rahim Yar Khan and Bahawalpur, shared insights for the accelerated learning programme design as part of a comprehensive household survey. The survey also identified households with out-of-school adolescent boys and girls who would be willing to register for an accelerated learning and skills development programme.

In the pursuit of evidence generation, in partnership with other partners, PSDF actively contributed to the strategic development of a labour market linkage plan. PSDF engaged over 200 delivery partners and labour market stakeholders, fostering collaboration with Non-Formal Education partners, skills development partners and potential employers. This blueprint was designed to establish connections between the out-of-school adolescents and a diverse range of employment and self-employment opportunities.

The collaboration between UNICEF, PSDF, Akhuwat and OPM demonstrates the power of strategic partnerships in effectively addressing intricate social challenges.

“Programmes like this underscore our commitment to skills education and economic empowerment and also lay the groundwork for future endeavours aimed at transforming lives through such initiatives at every level,” shared PSDF’s Chief Operating Offer, Akbar Bosan upon the pilot programme’s completion.

“Connecting accelerated learning with skills development and opportunities for job placement in one programme is quite unique in Pakistan and could help disadvantaged adolescent girls and boys bridge the gap from learning to earning”,” said Ellen van Kalmthout, Chief of Education, UNICEF Pakistan.

PSDF and Export Development Fund(EDF) Contract Signing.

Punjab Skills Development Fund and Export Development Fund (EDF) have signed a partnership agreement for a skills training program to help boost exports in the textile sector, particularly in ready-made garments and knitwear.

The project titled “Export Growth Program in the Readymade Garments and Knitwear Industry” is funded by Export Development Fund (EDF) with trainings in related trades being implemented across Punjab and Sindh via PSDF. During the first year 2023-24, PSDF will train 6,500 trainees in knitwear and readymade garments sector including 20% female trainees. The trainees will receive the necessary hands-on practical training that industries require. Post course completion, 50% of trained individuals will be offered employment in those industries engaged in exporting textiles. The first batch of graduates are expected to be ready for employment in September 2023.

At the signing ceremony Mr Abbas Mehdi, Executive Director EDF said that the export potential of Pakistan’s textile sector can benefit greatly with this partnership as the right skilled resources matched with jobs is exactly what industry needs. Ali Akbar Bosan COO PSDF said that the partnership aims to increase exports through provision of skilled labor on the latest approved curricula to keep the workforce updated.

The main outcome of this project will be provision of skilled manpower to exporting textile sector, in particular to industrial associations like Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers & Exporters Association (PHMA) and Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers & Exporters Association (PRGMEA) to help scale exports.

PSDF and LWMC Sign MOU to Provide Skills Training for Children of LWMC Staff

PSDF and LWMC have signed a multi-layered MOU under which they will collaborate to provide technical and vocational trainings in and around Lahore to the eligible children of LWMC staff that fall within PSDF’s mandate.

PSDF will provide skills training to LWMC staff’s children including customized programs for women and non Muslim youth, by reserving up to 10% of its seats for its ongoing skilling programs with training service providers exclusively for LWMC staff’s children. This will help them get prepared for income generation in job markets, self-employment & entrepreneurship. The skills trainings trades range from traditional skills to information technology and are designed on the latest approved curricula. In the second stage of the MOU, LWMC will collaborate with PSDF to fund whole training schemes exclusively for the eligible children of LWMC staff to help uplift worker communities in and around Lahore.

At the signing ceremony, COO PSDF said “Partnering with LWMC to help break the cycle of poverty in marginalized communities is a core mandate of PSDF, and we are proud to be working with the team to manage this change and help uplift the lives and financial independence of communities”. Babar Sahab Din, CEO LWMC said “the skilling partnership is all about helping the families of our staff and employees in Lahore to develop economically. We have a huge task ahead of us and this is the right step to integrate and grow our communities. ”

PSDF and PARCO Sign MOU on delivering technical training to uplift communities in Muzzafargarh, DG Khan Division


PSDF, Pakistan’s largest skills fund, and PARCO, the largest fully integrated energy company in Pakistan’s corporate sector have signed an MOU under which they will collaborate to provide high-end technical trainings to the local communities residing near PARCO’s Mid Country Refinery in Muzzafargarh under PARCO’s CSR program.

PSDF will provide specific skills training to unskilled youth – including customized programs for women and non muslim youth – to help them get prepared for income generation, self-employment & entrepreneurship through both onsite skills delivery mechanisms as well as through Hybrid and Digital delivery models. The skills trainings trades range from Agriculture and Livestock to Information Technology and are designed on the latest approved curricula.

PARCO has been a front-runner of Corporate Social Responsibility in local communities, supporting self-reliance capabilities amongst the Pakistani youth. PARCO and its subsidiaries have been helping many well-known institutions working in the area of vocational trainings during the past several years.

At the signing ceremony, the COO PSDF said “We are delighted to be partnering with PARCO, one of the Nation’s biggest suppliers of energy requirements as it is a testament to their trust in PSDF to help uplift the lives and financial independence of communities”.  Nadeem Chishti, GM PARCO said “the skilling partnership is all about helping communities near our facilities in DG Khan develop economically. We are steadfast in our commitment to our CSR agendas”


Post-Coursera Graduation Ceremony

Congratulations to PSDF’s online graduates!

On 22 March PSDF held a special graduation and certification distribution ceremony for students of its online learning skills trainings under the Coursera by PSDF program which is part of PSDF| e-tayyar, PSDF’s partnership with Coursera is unique as it is the only collaboration with the world’s largest e-learning platform. PSDF has graduated 1000 students who successfully completed their specializations in digital skills across the domains of Digital Marketing, Finance, and IT readying our youth for the digital economy. The specializations chosen by PSDF were specially curated to bring the most in demand market skills to the youth of Punjab.

We had students from all over Punjab on and offline attend the ceremony, we are proud of PSDF graduates, online learning can be a challenging process but with the determination of our students and the support system PSDF has put in place through its dedicated Hunar call centre to motivate and to address any online learning challenges of its learners has helped us reach this milestone.

MOU Signing with Lahore School of Economics

PSDF and LSE launched a pilot Digital Skilling Program to train female students at Government Colleges.

PSDF and LSE have created an innovative pilot Digital Skilling Program that aims to understand how Pakistan’s female citizens can be best encouraged to participate in the workforce. In this pilot training program students from select government colleges will be given access to digital courses on Coursera (the world’s largest e-learning platform) to learn in demand professional skills in the current job market.

This pilot program is different from others of its kind because it will engage both the female students and their parents to understand some of the barriers to why parents may choose not to invest in daughter’s education and identify relevant issues that prevent girls from taking up skills training programs.

The pilot program is part of PSDF’s program areas Uraan and e-tayyar which aim to implement crucial digital skills that increase women’s confidence, access to skills that increase their employability. The partnership with Lahore School of Economic (LSE) is to conduct research and create evidence-based development programs that will accelerate the socio-economic abilities of female citizens and encourage female labor force participation (FLFP)

One of the biggest issues facing Pakistan is the low level of female participation in the job market. Even though many women want to work, studies have shown that lack of encouragement, family support and lack of adequate skills prevents women from entering the labor force and accessing income-generating opportunities.

For the nation’s progress and given the economic crisis that has gripped the country, women need to be consistently encouraged on both a family and national level to pursue their careers and given the right skills so they can enter the job market.

The pilot program is expected to complete in March 2023 and will train 300 female trainees in digital skills. Students will also receive a stipend upon completion of their training. Based on the success and evidence generated by the pilot – this training program will be launched on a bigger scale.