Telenor Pakistan, country’s leading digital services provider, has partnered with the Virtual University of Pakistan to launch a nationwide digital skill-building program aptly named ‘DigiSkills Training Project’. Under auspices of Ministry of Information Technology & Telecom through IGNITE – National Technology Fund (formerly National ICT R&D Fund), the 2 year mega-program aims to train 1 million people in Digital Skills for Freelancing and entrepreneurship using ICTs.
The agreement signing took place at the Prime Minister Secretariat in the presence of Prime Minister Mr. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Minister of State for IT & Telecommunication Ms. Anusha Rahman – with Telenor Pakistan and Virtual University top management finalizing a memorandum of understanding (MoU). Thoughts were shared on how leveraging the emerging ICT technologies in Pakistan could create a virtual cloud of aspiring workers who are ready to take up online assignments to make a living besides promoting Pakistan as a go-to market for outsourcing of diversified freelance projects.
Pakistan is the world’s 4th largest provider of online freelance services with an estimated registered number of freelancers ranging in several hundreds of thousands. Most of the work done is for international clients; therefore the money earned by them is brought into the country mainly in the form of foreign remittances. Pakistan has the potential to increase its share in the freelance industry by folds and resultantly bring in valuable foreign exchange into the country and reduce unemployment.
Addressing the event here at the PM Office, the prime minister said his government was committed to support the private sector in its ventures of introducing cutting edge technology and taking the country forward. Prime Minister Abbasi said the government would ensure availability of the broadband across the country and facilitate e-commerce He stressed the need to further work on it and said the entrepreneurship was a unique skill and only the private sector has the ability to take it forward. The Prime Minister said the Digiskills program would equip the youth to get online jobs and earn money in a non-traditional way. He said he has great faith in the youth of the country and expressed confidence that the women would lead in these areas.
We have taken major strides toward digital transformation in the country with our ICT partners and this major development widens our scope to optimize new technologies to upskill our youth, “ said Ms. Anusha Rahman, Minister of State for IT and Telecommunication. “DigiSkills combines an ideal mix of partnership between Ignite and Virtual University’s expansive and advanced eLearning platform to further Ministry of IT’s digitization and empowerment goals. The online freelance market offers a myriad of opportunities to thousands of jobseekers whom we aim to ready for getting the best of that rewarding marketplace through DigiSkills. The program will train 1 million youth across Pakistan and help us effectively combat the longstanding challenge of unemployment through innovation,” I appreciate Telenor’s contribution in DigiSkill program by providing low mobile broadband cost to DigiSkills Program beneficiaries” she added
“This partnership with Virtual University is a significant development in pursuit of our mission of empowering the Pakistani society,” said Irfan Wahab Khan, CEO Telenor Pakistan. “Being the proud leaders of ICT-powered digital transformation in Pakistan, we are totally cognizant of the changes the employment market is undergoing globally. As we work to match Pakistan’s pace with the developed world on all fronts, we aim to multiply Pakistan’s share in the online freelance market with the VU partnership. With the world going digital and jobs gradually getting out of the conventional office space to a professional’s home and fingertips, Pakistan too needs to up its digital skills game to take full advantage of the opportunities that await them in the online world,” he added.
“We are pleased to have partnered with Pakistan’s ICT technology leader to impart digital skills in our youth and fight the longstanding challenge of unemployment,” said Ehsen Puri, Director ICT, Virtual University of Pakistan. “We have the largest and most advanced digital learning infrastructure in Pakistan, an ideal platform to execute a large project like DigiSkills. This particular training aims not only at developing key specialized skills, but also imparting knowledge about various freelancing and other employment and entrepreneurial opportunities available internationally and locally. Fighting unemployment and creating new job avenues is a collective responsibility of the business world and DigiSkills should inspire other market players to take similar steps for the empowerment of our youth,” he added.
With the emergence of internet and connectivity, the freelance economy is taking shape globally with millions of individuals around the world benefiting from the on-line, outsourcing work allowing them opportunity to work on global projects and earn good money. Most freelance employees choose flexibility over a structured work environment or working hours. The freelance industry is also giving rise to small- and medium-size business ventures and thus promoting entrepreneurship globally.