LAHORE: A ceremony was held at a hotel here on Tuesday to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) among Chief Minister’s Special Monitoring Unit (SMU), Bargad and Oxfam.

The MoU was signed by SMU, Bargad and Oxfam to impart soft and market-led technical skills to young women and men. These technical skills will be delivered via a HUB Model. The HUB Model, also known as ‘Innovation HUB’, is a pilot led by Bargad in Layyah District. The HUB aims to train 1,270 youth aged between 15 and 24 years belonging to different literacy tiers.

Out of the total 1,270 trainees, 70 will be selected to become master trainers, 22 trainees will be given entrepreneurship opportunities by linking them with Micro-Finance Institutions (MFIs) and mentors, while 200 trainees will be given job opportunities by using linkages with private and public sector enterprises. Furthermore, 200 trainees will be given kick-starter packages for agriculture related activities and the remaining individuals will be given skills training in different fields as per their interest, such as farming, livestock, entrepreneurship and computer skills.

Punjab Minister for Sports, Archaeology, Tourism and Youth Affairs Jahangir Khanzada shed light on the importance of the partnership, saying, “The signing of MoU among Chief Minister's Special Monitoring Unit, Bargad and Oxfam marks a definitive step towards an empowered society, one where men and women alike are equipped with relevant skills to become self-sufficient.

This is the vision of the chief minister and mandate of this government.”

Speaking at the ceremony, Sabiha Shaheen, executive director for Bargad, said, “The signing of today’s MoU among Bargad, Oxfam and SMU is indicative of the importance placed on the rural youth of Layyah by the Chief Minister’s Special Monitoring Unit (SMU), the government of Punjab. This will serve as a landmark agreement in improving lives of rural youth in Layyah.”

“This partnership aligns with the vision of Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif for an inclusive and equitable society. With the aim to empower the youth of Punjab by imparting essential technical skills, the SMU will use the HUB Model as a pilot case study through which we aim to create effective policies for further improvement of the technical education sector.

We are hopeful that the best practices and outcomes from the pilot will pave the way for effective youth reforms in Punjab,” said Fatima Zaidi, head of the SMU.

Adeel Qaiser, programme director at Oxfam, said, “Today’s MoU is a great achievement and a great support from the government towards the province’s rural youth in Layyah. I hope that the government expands this initiative to other areas of the province too.”

Under the MoU, an Innovation HUB will be inaugurated in Layyah by the end of this month.