Lahore (Muhammad Yasir) Local technology company, LMKT, has joined forces with Microsoft to launch the first APPFactory (Apprenticeship Factory) in Pakistan, which will develop the digital skills, coding capabilities and employability of young ICT graduates. Forming part of its new LMKT SPARK programme, the AppFactory will recruit up to 30 apprentices every six months, and place them alongside senior software technicians to work on real-world industry projects. After graduating from the programme, apprentices will be able to fully design and implement modern software solutions, and have access to jobs through both LMKT and the Microsoft Partner Network.
According to the Pakistan National Human Development Report 2017, the country currently has the largest generation of young people ever in its history.It is therefore imperative for Pakistan to invest in its youth now – through quality education, employment and engagement – to both enhance personal wellbeing and the country’s economic development.
“As the world becomes increasingly digital, how employable you are, or how competitive your business is, strongly depends on your level of 21st century capabilities, such as coding and data analytics,” says Atif Rais Khan, CEO LMKT. “LMKT SPARK through the APPFactoryaims to develop these skills – enhancing youth employability, while also accelerating Pakistan’s digital transformation by promoting industry innovation, such as the development of eGovernance and agri-tech solutions.”
Microsoft first developed the AppFactory model in 2013, and piloted it in Africa through its 4Afrika Initiative. After transitioning into a partner-driven franchise model, the AppFactory programme rapidly expanded into 11 African countries. Today, over 1,400 young apprentices have graduated from a network of 17 AppFactories – with 85% of these graduates securing jobs within three months of graduating. Others have started their own businesses.
“The AppFactory is a tried and tested model that is successfully improving youth employability, and entrepreneurship, across a variety of industries,” says Amrote Abdella, Regional Director of the Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative. “Microsoft provides the blueprint and tools for the programme, but the programme itself is entirely run by local partners – who source and set projects in industries ranging from healthcare to transportation. Every industry is being touched and enhanced by technology, and the AppFactory is building a strongtalent pool for any organisation looking to digitally transform. We’re excited about this expansion into Pakistan with LMKT, which is a milestone in the development of the AppFactory.”
In addition to developing digital skills, the LMKT SPARK initiativewill also serve as a local Research & Development (R&D) Lab for enterprises, entrepreneurs, small-to-medium enterprises and government.
“Investing in human capital and R&D plays a substantial role in driving economic growth and competitiveness, by nurturing innovation, invention and knowledge,” addsLMKT’s Vice President of Information Resource Management, Meer Anwar. “This can go a long way in supporting Pakistan’s 2025 vision to become a top-performing economy, and further improve its ease of doing business ranking.”