LAHORE - A longitudinal case study launching ceremony hosted by the Punjab Vocational Training Council in collaboration with the Department of Youth Affairs, Sports, Archaeology and Tourism (YASAT) was held here yesterday as part of the Building Young Futures (BYF), a project supported by Barclays Bank & UNICEF.

The graduates from vocational training institutes of selected districts of Punjab participated in this ceremony, says a PVTC press release.

PVTC is an autonomous corporate body established by the Government of Punjab through the PVTC Act of 1998. Its mission is to alleviate poverty through Muslim charity (Zakat) and private sector participation by imparting demand-driven skills training and enhancing the employability of disadvantaged youth. PVTC is the largest vocational training organization in Pakistan, with over 222 Vocational Training Institutes (VTI) spread across Punjab. Over 337,000 trainees have graduated from their system, of which 73 per cent are gainfully employed in different industries. Currently PVTC is training more than 68, 580 trainees per annum. ‘On the job training’ or work placements forms an integral part of PVTC training courses.

Barclays and UNICEF are engaged in a global partnership to help young people fulfill their potential by giving them confidence, skills and empowering them to start their own businesses or get work, in order to achieve stronger economic futures for themselves and their communities.

It focuses on improving income generation opportunities for the most socially excluded and vulnerable young people in selected districts of Punjab, by enabling them to have access to life skills and demand-driven skills, financial literacy and enterprise skills, through participation in a recognized and certified training course.

The longitudinal case study event launching ceremony showcased the journey of 13 participants of the said project towards economic and social empowerment. The participants recounted their experience and the impact training had on boosting their confidence to deal with the challenges of life.

These young individuals all belonged to an underprivileged background living in one or two room accommodation. The male parent, in almost all the families, was the main breadwinner of the trainees. The male head of household had a very heavy workload and despite this the household struggled to make ends meet. Household expenditures were usually greater than income, and this often led to indebtedness so the beneficiaries had started to work for better future and see themselves financial independent with a job in hands all the participants of this program trying to complete their education because the main barrier of their financial consternates are removed by their jobs.

Mr. Sajid Naseer Khan, Managing Director PVTC, said that it is important to note the significant change has been observed in personal confidence and opportunities available to young boys and girls to become economically empowered. This therefore contributes to broader efforts of strengthen the family financially and alleviates inter-generational poverty.

The goal of current project was to improve income generation opportunities whether through employment or businesses to startup for the most socially excluded and vulnerable young people in selected districts of Punjab.

Nasreen Farooq, provincial commissioner for children rights, Shagufta Bhatti, M Yaseen from UNICEF, principals Lahore VTIs and other also participated in the ceremony.