Funding to increase job opportunities and training.
Humza Yousaf has announced today (Thursday 10th March) that the Scottish Government will fund a modern apprenticeship pilot programme in Pakistan.
The Minister for Europe and International Development has confirmed the £65,000 investment as part of Scotland's Pakistan strategy. The Pakistan Scottish Apprenticeship Programme will work with the small and medium enterprise sector in Pakistan to initiate a modern apprenticeship programme in five districts: Gujrat, Sialkot, Gujranwala, Faisalabad and Karachi.
The programme will identify the skills required by participants and then provide a work placement and training for the apprentice who will be provided with a monthly stipend. There will be a focus on providing opportunities for disabled people, the disadvantaged and women.
Twenty employers will be encouraged to sign up for year one of the programme, while a minimum of 100 apprentices will be involved. It is hoped at least 25% of apprentices will move on to full-time, permanent work.
Mr Yousaf said:
"Pakistan is the world's 15th largest economy, the world's third largest English speaking nation and has a population of 191 million, including 40 million 10-19 year olds. Building on the historic and modern links between Scotland and Pakistan to develop a closer relationship between the countries will create the potential for opportunities for the benefit of both.
"Scotland is a responsible, caring global citizen. The Pakistan Scottish Apprenticeship Programme pilot will build on Scottish experience and expertise in skills development and will help create the conditions for talented men and women to learn vital skills in the workplace, including the most vulnerable for example disabled people, the disadvantaged and women."
Deputy Director for British Council Pakistan, Jim Booth, said:
"British Council Pakistan has long supported programmes that transform the lives of young people through education. Working in partnership with the Scottish Government, we are proud to deliver the Pakistan Scottish Apprenticeship Programme. The scheme focuses on providing opportunities for young people to develop the skills they need to move into work.
"We are hoping that 100 young people, many from the most disadvantaged backgrounds will benefit from this programme, benefiting their families and their communities. It's a change for the better, helping to create positive links with Scotland, and we are privileged to be part of it. British Council values this partnership with the Scottish Government and hopes to continue this great work into the future".
The Scottish Government will publish Scotland's refreshed Pakistan Engagement Strategy in March 2016. The high level strategy sets out the Scottish Government's ambitions in developing Scotland's relationship with Pakistan over the next five years. It reflects some of Pakistan's priorities, matched with Scotland's expertise. It also offers scope for Scotland to learn from Pakistan.