KARACHI: Google on Thursday launched ‘Career Certificates’ to offer flexible learning paths for all Pakistanis to enable learners to develop their knowledge and acquire digital skills for in-demand jobs.

A report by AlphaBeta has found that if leveraged fully, digital technologies could create up to Rs9.7 trillion ($59.7 billion) worth of economic value annually in Pakistan by 2030.

Pakistan’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector has witnessed remarkable growth over the past decade, boasting an average annual revenue growth rate of 20-30 per cent.

The Google Career Certificates are now available to Pakistanis through ‘Grow with Google’ to gain in-demand technical skills across six areas -- data analytics, IT support, IT automation, project management, UX Design, digital marketing and e-commerce.

Google will offer 15,000 Google Career Certificate scholarships through local partners -- IRM and Ignite -- comprising educational institutions, industry partners and nonprofits to earn a certificate at no cost.

ICT-related exports currently exceed $5bn, and the Ministry of IT and Telecommunication believes the sector has the “potential to become the [nation’s] largest export industry” in the coming years. Currently, roughly 4.7pc of Pakistan’s labour force is employed in the ICT sector, of which six per cent – or 200,000 workers – are women. The ICT sector also has the largest number of job vacancies, based on data from Pakistan’s leading job portal, Rozee.pk.

Google’s Regional Director for Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka Farhan Qureshi said: “Today, we are proud to announce the launch of Google Career Certificates, a programme under the umbrella of Grow with Google. In partnership with IRM and Ignite, we are also providing scholarships for 15,000 learners to earn certificates at no cost. The endeavour reflects the commitment of Google to playing a vital role in order to ensure the growth of the country’s digital ecosystem.”

“The certification program will provide new opportunities, allowing developers, students, teachers, job seekers, and businesses to grow exponentially. Partnerships are built with both public and private sector as we aim to uplift the digital industry in Pakistan,” he added.

Available on the online education platform Coursera, Google Career Certificates are self-paced online training programmes that enable learners with no prior experience or a degree to unlock new job opportunities in six areas -- data analytics, IT support, IT automation, project management, UX Design, and digital marketing and e-commerce.

Each certificate is created by Google’s in-house experts and designed to equip learners with fundamental skills through hands-on learning, allowing them to progress at their own pace while studying or working.

A data science trainee at the Institute of Engineering Career, Syeda Dur-e-Hassan Rizvi, said: “Although challenges and obstacles may stand in the way, it’s crucial to persevere if you want to succeed. After dipping my toes into the world of data, I have now finished the Google data analytics certification. It was a fantastic learning opportunity. I feel more confident and ready to learn and grow more!”

Assistant Professor, Dept of CS Bahria University Lahore Campus, Mohammed Zunnurain Hussain, said: “This certification has greatly impacted my professional life. I have been recognised globally, and have started receiving job offers from across the globe. The sky is the limit!”

Published in Dawn, September 23rd, 2022

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