In a strong sign of growing demand for Pakistani IT professionals, oDesk – a Silicon Valley-based online employment firm – has partnered with Punjab University College of Technical Information (PUCIT) to educate and prepare Pakistani students for the online job market.
According to a statement from the firm, the apprentice programme of oDesk – one of America’s fastest growing online employment platforms where more than $20 million of work is commissioned every month – is the industry’s first training programme of its kind anywhere in the world.
PUCIT was a natural choice as it is home to Pakistan’s largest IT institute, oDesk CEO Gary Swart said, adding the university has an excellent reputation internationally.
Many of the largest companies in the world are increasingly hiring online workers, Swart said, further stating that the apprentice programme’s aim is to equip PUCIT students with the required skills to take advantage of these online opportunities and greatly improve their prospects.
The programme will educate students on entrepreneurship, business ethics and international business communication in the context of online work, the statement said. The trainees will have the opportunity to apply these skills and become an entrepreneur by creating their own businesses and serving clients globally on the oDesk platform, the statement added.
The timing for the launch of oDesk’s apprentice programme will be a valuable addition to Pakistan’s IT and ITES industry whose revenues, according to Pakistan Software Houses Association, are exceeding $2 billion a year; the number is projected to reach $11 billion during the next five years.
“Students at PUCIT and across Pakistan have a real opportunity to get ahead in their career by understanding how to operate in the online work marketplace,” Syed Mansoor Sarwar, Principal of PUCIT said.
Referring to the online work marketplace, Sarwar said, it is a thriving industry and can be easily accessed if one has the essential skills. “Our partnership with oDesk will provide PUCIT students on the program with these skills and place them in a highly competitive position,” he said.
The first group of 20 students has already graduated from the oDesk Apprentice Program at PUCIT last month, the statement said.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 28th, 2011.