Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday inaugurated Pakistan's largest skills development programme titled 'Hunarmand Jawan'.
Speaking at the ceremony, Prime Minister Imran said that this programme will put Pakistan on the road to success.
"I need you all to understand that there is no such thing as 'happily ever after', that only exists in fairy tales. In real life, there are ups and downs and smart people make sure that they use the time when they are in difficulty to propel themselves towards success later," the prime minister said, while explaining the basis on which the programme was created.
"I believe barkat has not come to this country because a small number of people kept becoming richer while everyone else suffered. This is not how enlightened societies work. In such societies equal opportunities are given to everyone. What is the American dream model? It ensures that anyone who works hard will be able to lift themselves up and create a better future for themselves."
Describing the Hunarmand Programme, the prime minister said that his government is actively working to revive dormant industries and to provide youth with modern skills.
"Under this programme, we initially aim to train 500,000 youth. One thing that I am very proud of is that the first 70 skill centres we create will be in madarssahs, so that the children who have always been neglected are able to acquire skills that will help them step up in the real world. I am proud of my government for being the first to work for these youth, no one has ever done that before.
"In the next phase, 300 smart training centres will be created, where our students will have access to international teachers so that our country can achieve global standards. Thirdly, all of these skill centres will have national accreditation, to ensure that there is healthy competition between them and they all strive to better themselves."
The prime minister also said that more money will be allocated for this programme in the future and it will be ensured that Pakistan's youth has the skills required to work hard and secure their better future. He also congratulated Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mehmood on coming up with an extensive skills programme for the country.
Earlier, the prime minister explained how his government has been trying to eliminate poverty in the country and raise peoples' standard of living.
"We have decided to make sure that this country functions on principles that elevate the standard of living of our underprivileged population. We have started the Ehsas programme, under which we have allocated Rs7 billion for the Utility Store Network, to ensure that people are given quality rations in affordable prices.
We have also started to develop a network of langars (soup kitchens) to ensure that no one in this country goes hungry. The network is still being developed and more and more areas in the country will soon be covered.
"Other than that, we have the Panagah programme, under which we started forming shelters last year to ensure that people do not have to brave extreme weathers and live on the street. Today, in the kind of cold we are experiencing, police have been instructed to patrol the streets and bring homeless people to these shelters," said the PM.
"With the Sehat Insaf Card, families now have medical insurance. Earlier, if a single member of any family had to go through cancer, it caused financial instability for everyone in the family. The family had to sell everything to ensure that that one member could have treatment. It caused financial devastation. Lastly, under the Apna Ghar programme, we are providing the common man the opportunity to own a house. This has never been done in this country before. Only the rich could afford to do it before. There is a case pending in court regarding land leases and as soon as that case is resolved, we will start work on building houses on that land."
The Hunarmand programme
The Hunarmand programme is aimed at the economic emancipation of youth by providing them quality professional training.
According to Radio Pakistan, the four-year programme will cost approximately Rs30 billion and will provide easy loans, capacity building and internships for the youth.
Addressing a pre-launch meeting, Prime Minister Imran called the programme an asset for the nation.
"The programme will help the youth in securing better job opportunities and contribute towards national development," the report quoted him as saying.
In the first phase of the programme, 170,000 young Pakistanis will receive skills-based training; 50,000 of these individuals will receive training in advanced areas of technology, including artificial intelligence, robotics and cloud computing.
On the other hand, another 50,000 of the total will be trained by the Technical Education and Vocational Authority in areas such as plumbing and mechanics, while the remaining 20,000 will be given apprenticeships, the report maintained.
Additionally, 75 smart classrooms will be established to ensure easy access to education as well as providing training at 70 madrassahs. In addition, five "Centres of Excellence" will be set up in collaboration with friendly countries, the report added.