Lahore (Muhammad Yasir) Citi in partnership with The Citizens Foundation (TCF) hosted a graduation ceremony for the first higher secondary Intermediate students of the TCF College.
In 2017, TCF and the Citi Foundation launched the ‘Critical Employability Skills’ programme, with a $200,000 grant under the bank’s ‘Pathways to Progress’ initiative, with the objective to prepare and groom college-level students for tertiary education and the job market. The program has 400 students enrolled, and was ranked number four in the Karachi Intermediate Board in 2017-18.
The TCF College emphasizes confidence building, extracurricular activities and coaching to build employability skills such as critical thinking, communication, problem solving, and interpersonal skills in addition to rigorous academic instruction to prepare students for the job market.
Speaking at the occasion, Adeel Shahid, Head of Marketing at Citi Pakistan said, “The growing income disparity in Pakistan does not provide a level for the underserved youth of Pakistan. Mentoring and giving exposure to a variety of life skills and career opportunities helps young people get a head start that they need in order to excel in their tertiary education and careers. We are proud of our partnership with TCF who are keen to equip the youth of Pakistan with value based learning.”
Speaking on the occasion, Zuhaib Sheikh, Head of TCF College said, “With the stellar academic performance of our students, TCF has demonstrated that with the right mix of academics and employability skills, children from the poorest of slums can not only compete but outperform others from more privileged backgrounds. Education is the big equalizer, and will allow these students to choose their own path to success.”
Pakistan has a growing labour force with 1.7 million young people reaching working age each year. However, four million young people between the ages of 15-24 years are unemployed and this number is set to rise to 8.6 million by 2020. That is a significant and growing number of young people who are at risk of social exclusion, income inequality and reduced prospects, and represent a serious challenge to Pakistan’s productivity and economic potential.
An integral part of the Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress initiative in Pakistan is to unlock economic opportunities and create jobs for young people from low income backgrounds. This includes tapping into the entrepreneurial spirit of young people (aged 16-24), supporting them with training, mentoring and investment to start up and succeed in their life.
The Citizens Foundation is a leading Pakistani nonprofit with the vision to remove barriers of class for children from underprivileged communities and make them agents of positive change. TCF College aims to prove that any child in Pakistan, no matter how economically disadvantaged, can fulfill his or her aspirations for achieving personal, academic and professional success. Established in 1996, TCF has two decades of experience in operating low-cost primary and secondary schools designed to cater to the needs of the poor.
In 2017, the Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress initiative was expanded globally with a $100 million commitment to economically empower 500,000 young people with entrepreneurship and employability training before 2020.