Punjab Government and PepsiCo partner to champion Youth Skills Development
Lahore, Punjab, 20 September 2019 – PepsiCo Pakistan, Amal Academy and the Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the presence of Mr. Furqan Ahmed Syed, CEO, PepsiCo Pakistan and Afghanistan and Prof. Dr. Fazal Ahmed Khalid, Chairman PHEC. The purpose of the MoU is to support PepsiCo and Amal Academy’s collaboration efforts on youth development.
Pakistan’s growing youth means a rising workforce that needs employment opportunities. Between 2005 and 2014, the unemployment rate for those with university degrees has grown from 5% to an alarming 26%*. University graduates in Pakistan have immense potential but often haven’t had the chance to develop the skills that are critical to realizing that potential. Additionally, students are not always familiar with the career opportunities that are available to them. As a result, they often struggle to transition from their academic life into meaningful jobs and careers.
Earlier this year PepsiCo Pakistan partnered with Amal Academy to run a professional skills development program, targeted specifically at young people. The pilot program is part of a USD 300,000 PepsiCo grant which has trained over 1,000 university students, 34% of whom are women. So far, 70 percent of the job-seeking graduates have been offered employment within three months of completing the program. The partnership between PHEC, PepsiCo and Amal Academy will give greater access to public university students in Punjab to enroll and benefit from the program.
The ceremony was presided by Punjab’s Minister for Higher Education, Mr. Raja Yassir Humayun Sarfraz. He acknowledged the effort of this public-private partnership to support Pakistan’s youth and said, “It is great to see companies like PepsiCo aligning themselves with one of the government’s most important priorities.”
Mr. Furqan Ahmed Syed, CEO, PepsiCo Pakistan and Afghanistan said, “We are very proud of this collaboration between PepsiCo and Amal Academy and are thrilled to have the Punjab Government’s support in helping us scale it and widen its reach so that more students can benefit from it. PepsiCo has had a long association with the Pakistani youth. They are talented and have great potential and it is our privilege to be able to further their ambitions.”
Chairman PHEC, Prof. Dr. Fazal Ahmed Khalid said, “This program of joint collaboration with Amal Academy and PepsiCo Pakistan will facilitate students and graduates register in the various training programs offered in universities, enhance their life skills and training on professional ethics, and bridge the industry-academia gap for better employment opportunities’.
Mr. Ali Siddiq, COO Amal Academy said, “This partnership showcases a renewed focus of the Government on supporting our youth, equipping fresh graduates with the skills they need to succeed in their careers and live more meaningful and productive lives. I am excited about the opportunities this creates for the thousands of students that will benefit as a direct result of this agreement.”