Ignite – National Technology Fund hosted the event ‘DigiSkills Consultative Conclave’ in Islamabad on 27 July, 2017. Representatives from the government and private sector were invited to participate in formulating a strategy for implementing Ignite’s forthcoming project, the DigiSkills Training Program. The Minister of State for Information Technology & Telecom Ms. Anusha Rahman was the Chief Guest at this event.

Members of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and its National Curriculum Review Committee (NCRC), Provincial Secretariat for Education and other education experts came together with representatives from the ICT industry and its associated entities (e.g. P@SHA, TiE, OPEN, etc.), 4th Industrial Wave thinktanks, private schools and colleges, vocational training institutes, and freelancers to exchange ideas regarding this project.

The DigiSkills initiative has been conceived by Ignite to educate and train over 1 million Pakistani youth in digital skills to “promote excellence in technology, innovation and work ethic; building a workforce for a future driven by the 4th Industrial Wave”. As small and large businesses across all sectors in Pakistan look towards adopting digital trends and technologies, there is a growing need for trained personnel. Engaging students in this program will increase their chances to get hired, make them an asset to the organization that hires them and also open up avenues for freelancing.

While speaking at the event, Ms. Anusha Rahman said that even though Pakistan produces around 20,000 IT graduates each year, there aren’t enough jobs to accommodate all of them. She went on to say that freelancing has opened up new avenues of employment for these young graduates, which makes it even more important for them to be equipped with the necessary digital skills. She said, “The preference to outsource operational activities by organizations has generated new avenues and already, a large workforce around the globe has adopted freelancing as their source of earning. In the freelancing market, freelancers from Pakistan have made their mark, being 4th on the list, with an estimated number of 0.4 million, which is quite considerable. However, there is still huge potential which should be exploited.”