Launch of the First National Accelerator on Closing the Skills Gap in Pakistan
July 11, 2019, Islamabad: The Prime Minster met with the visiting President of the World Economic Forum, Mr Borge Brende, at the Prime Minister’s office. At the meeting, the Prime Minister announced the establishment of the National Accelerator on Closing the Skills Gap in Pakistan, in partnership with the World Economic Forum, with Punjab Skills Development Fund (PSDF) serving as its national secretariat.
The World Economic Forum is the international organization for public-private cooperation. The Forum engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. It is independent, impartial and not tied to any special interests. The Forum has established the Centre for New Economy and Society (CNES) to provide leaders with a platform to understand and act on emerging economic and social challenges. The Forum’s Centre for New Economy and Society has partnered with PSDF to work together on the future of education and work by setting up a National Accelerator on Closing the Skills Gap in Pakistan. The Accelerator will aim to increase the employability of the current workforce and increase work-readiness and critical skills in the future workforce.
The National Accelerator will be led and guided by a team of Co-Chairs from the public and private sectors. The Government will be represented by Mr. Shafqat Mahmood, Federal Minister of Education and Professional Training and Mr. Zulfiqar Bukhari, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development. The Co-Chairs from the private sector include Ms. Shazia Syed, MD Unilever Pakistan, Mr. Mohammed Aurangzeb, President and CEO, Habib Bank Limited, Mr. Ghias Khan, CEO, Engro Corporation. PSDF CEO, Mr. Jawad Khan, will be the National Coordinator.
Focusing on the most strategic sectors in the economy, the Accelerator will also onboard the CEOs of 50 to 100 leading companies in Pakistan as well as academics, policy makers and technical experts from the education and skills development space. The Centre for New Economy and Society has already established 5 such Accelerators in Argentina, Oman, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and India, with 10 more Accelerators expected by 2020.
At the meeting, the Prime Minister shared his Government’s political and financial commitment to reform the skills development sectors in Pakistan and thanked the World Economic Forum for choosing Pakistan as a founding member of the Closing the Skills Gap National Accelerator initiative. Given its global reach, experience and expertise, the Prime Minister expressed his confidence that the Forum’s engagement will help provide new opportunities for Pakistan’s youth and help them develop new skills to fully embrace the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Mr. Borge Brende, President, World Economic Forum, said: “The launch of the National Accelerator on Closing the Skills Gap is an important milestone in our relationship with Pakistan and it is just the start. Many of Pakistan’s national priorities are the core focus of the Forum’s work. From climate change, water scarcity and connectivity to regional cooperation, the Forum is ready to offer its platform to support Pakistan’s economic transformation.”
Ms. Saadia Zahidi, Managing Director and Head of the Forum’s Centre for New Economy and Society, said: “The Fourth Industrial Revolution will lead to significant change in the employment and skills landscape globally over the coming years – and Pakistan is no exception. Through our Accelerator initiative we look forward to supporting Pakistan with an integrated platform for learning and action to proactively manage this change.”
Mr. Jawad Khan CEO, PSDF, said: “we are truly honoured to be chosen as the national secretariat for the National Accelerator in Pakistan. PSDF is already doing pioneering work in the skills development space to create income generation opportunities for the poor and vulnerable youth. The partnership with the Forum’s CNES will help it benefit from the Forum’s global experience, reach, as well as from the experience of other global accelerators.”
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About PSDF – A Success Story of Public-Private Partnerships:
Punjab Skills Development Fund (PSDF) is the largest skills development fund in Pakistan. PSDF was established in 2010 as a not-for-profit company set up under the Companies Ordinance 1984 by the Government of Punjab (GoPb) in collaboration with UK’s Department for International Development (DFID). PSDF also exclusively manages the skills training funding of the World Bank.
PSDF’s purpose is to shape the future and well-being of our poor and vulnerable youth by giving them access to skills training of the highest standard so they can find sustainable employment and income-generating opportunities in Pakistan and beyond.
PSDF started its operations in the 4 poorest districts of Punjab. Since 2016, The geographical remit has expanded to the entire 36 districts of Punjab. PSDF has trained almost 300,000 underprivileged youth across Punjab, which includes 180,000+ male and 110,000+ female graduates. These graduates have been trained in approximately 250 demand-driven and market relevant trades across 10 sectors.
PSDF has played a leadership role in creating a skills training market with 90% training partners in the private sector. With 400 training partners that deliver training on behalf of PSDF, out of which over 150 are businesses across the 10 sectors. PSDF has adopted an output-based funding mechanism where it funds contract-to-completion outputs as well as completion-to-income generation outcomes.
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