What is the DigiSkills Program?

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The digital skills industry, often referred to as online outsourcing, is expected to generate gross service revenue between $15 billion and $25 billion by 2020.

Advent of new ICT technologies has opened a myriad of new possibilities for knowledge workers across the globe by enabling them to provide their services remotely to clients. By leveraging these ICT technologies, a new on-demand economy is being created, where professional activities broken into discrete assignments are offered to a virtual cloud of aspiring workers. This industry, often referred to as online outsourcing, is expected to generate gross service revenue between $15 billion and $25 billion by 2020.

Major chunk of this online outsourcing industry is being taken by individuals having necessary and relevant skills required to complete these temporary assignments and project or contract-based work. Millions of individuals around the world are tapping into the opportunity and earning money while working from the comfort of their homes. This trend is expected to grow as the creative destruction caused by fourth industrial wave continues to disrupt business processes and models.

Millions of individuals around the world are tapping into the opportunity and earning money while working from the comfort of their homes.

Pakistan is the world’s fourth largest provider of online freelancers with estimated registered number of online freelancers ranging in several hundreds of thousands. Most of the work done is for international clients; therefore money earned by them is brought into the country, mainly as foreign remittances. While accurate data on money brought by freelancers is not available, estimates range from $ 500 Million to $ 1.3 Billion annually.

This amount is just a fraction of the country’s potential as, with its large population, increasing internet connectivity, broadband penetration, young and educated youth, thousands of IT graduates and million-plus enrolled university students, Pakistan can increase the number of freelancers manifold. This will help bring invaluable foreign exchange into the country, and more importantly, reduce unemployment as the number of fresh graduates passing out every year is a lot more than the number of new jobs created.

This large scale national Digital Skills (DigiSkills) Training Program has been launched, across the country, to train one (1) million people in the future of work using technology.

Therefore, this large scale national Digital Skills (DigiSkills) Training Program, which was conceived by the Minister of IT and Telecom, has been launched across the country, to train one (1) million people in the future of work using technology. Virtual University of Pakistan has been selected to execute this mega training program under the auspices of Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom through Ignite- National Technology Fund (formerly National ICT R&D Fund). The DigiSkills Program is aimed at equipping our youth, freelancers, students, housewives, professionals, etc. with knowledge, skills, tools & techniques necessary to seize the opportunities available internationally in online marketplaces as well as locally to earn a decent living.

The program aims at not only developing key specialized skills, but also imparting knowledge about various freelancing and other employment and entrepreneurial opportunities available internationally and locally. Due to limited employment opportunities, it is essential for upcoming workforce to have necessary knowledge and abilities to grab such opportunities. This is envisaged to be achieved through a national level program, which will train target audiences in freelancing and other specialized skills listed below: