UNICEF and PSDF sign partnership agreement for research on youth skills development and job placement

Model linking non-formal education and job placement to be developed as part of the ‘Generation Unlimited’ partnership

Lahore (Muhammad Yasir) Today the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Punjab Skills Development Fund (PSDF) signed a partnership agreement to implement a research and development project in support of adolescent and youth education, skills development and job placement as part of the ‘Generation Unlimited’ partnership in Pakistan. The agreement will help research, design and pre-test an accelerated and cost-effective ‘Non-Formal Education to Job Placement’ model to help improve the skills and employability of the most vulnerable and economically, socially disadvantaged adolescents and youth. It targets adolescents and young people who have never attended formal education or who dropped out of the formal education system without achieving primary school competencies, and who do not have access to education and economic opportunities. PSDF will work with UNICEF, federal and provincial governments, and partners from civil society organizations and the private sector to design and pre-test the ‘Non-Formal Education to Job Placement’ model in Punjab. It aims at offering a unique, integrated solution by simultaneously (1) providing adolescents and young people age 10-19 who are outside the formal education system with the opportunity to enroll in an Accelerated Learning Program so they can achieve foundational skills in literacy and numeracy at primary school; (2) equipping those who have achieved grade 5 competency level with job and entrepreneurial skills through training to enhance their capacities to access non-hazardous income generational opportunities; and (3) linking young people who have successfully graduated from the program to the labour market. “We are proud that UNICEF has partnered with PSDF in Pakistan for this landmark initiative to educate and skill out-of-school adolescents,” said Mr. Jawad Khan, CEO of PSDF. “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 Unlimited’ (GenU) partnership in Pakistan, which aims at creating a movement to help young people, particularly adolescent girls and boys between the ages of 10 and 19, acquire the education and skills training required to access employment opportunities. The GenU multi-sector partnership platform brings together government, private sector, civil society organizations and development partners, and forges innovative collaboration with young people, with a view to expand and link formal education and skill development. “Pakistan has the largest generation of young people in its history, which provides unique challenges as well as opportunities,” said Ms. Aida Girma, UNICEF Representative in Pakistan. “This new model aims to expand opportunities for and with young people, in particular out-of-school adolescent girls and boys, to access quality education, skills training and employment. It supports the Vision of ‘Generation Unlimited’, which is to gather public and private partners around the goal of investing in young people to help them achieve their potential while supporting economic and social growth.” The model will be developed and pre-tested in Punjab as a first phase. The goal is to start similar programs in other provinces in the future to reach millions of young people who lack opportunities.