On Wednesday, PepsiCo Pakistan hosted a virtual graduation ceremony for 1,600 fellows of the PepsiCo-Amal youth program. The graduating cohort has a 40 percent female participation and has representation from 135 town and villages across Pakistan.
The speakers at the ceremony were Mr. Furqan Ahmed Syed CEO PepsiCo Pakistan and Afghanistan, Benje Williams Co-Founder Amal Academy, Ali Siddiq the CEO of Amal Academy and Mr. Fawad Chaudhry, Federal Minister of Science and Technology. Jaqueline Novogratz, Founder and CEO of Acumen was the keynote speaker at the ceremony.
University graduates in Pakistan have immense potential however their transition from students to working professionals is often challenged by their lack of skill sets critical to acquiring meaningful jobs. Additionally, students are not always familiar with the career opportunities that are available to them. As a result, they often struggle to transition from their academic life to a working career.
PepsiCo has partnered with Amal Academy – an education start-up to fill this gap by providing professional skills to university graduates so they can realize their potential and launch into meaningful careers. The program focuses on a wide variety of skills. These include self-confidence, communications, stress tolerance, adaptability, team work to name a few. All of these have been identified as crucial skills to have by prospective employers.
The PepsiCo Amal Youth program was launched in 2018 as a pilot to train 1,000 students. In 2020, the program was expanded into to Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. A total of 3,000 students have graduated from the program. The initiative has partnered with 16 universities and with the Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC). This year, over 96% of job seeking graduates received either an offer of employment or ventured into entrepreneurship within three months of completing the program.
Virtual graduation ceremony held for 1,600 fellows
PepsiCo-Amal youth program
Speaking at the ceremony Mr. Fawad Chaudhry, Federal Minister of Science and Technology commented, ‘I want to congratulate the 1600 fellows graduating today. I want to wish them luck and would encourage them to pursue their passions. I also want to commend PepsiCo and Amal Academy on this important collaboration.’
In his remarks, Furqan Ahmed Syed CEO PepsiCo Pakistan and Afghanistan commented, ‘The PepsiCo – Amal Youth program lends itself to great opportunities for the youth of Pakistan. Our fellows graduating today are extremely passionate, motivated and keen to prove themselves. I am very excited to see what they will achieve for themselves and for the country.’
Ali Siddiq, CEO Amal Academy in his address said, ‘Amal Academy is committed to helping the youth of Pakistan and the Pakistani education system reach its full potential. With PepsiCo’s support, we hope to further expand the program and benefit more young people going forward.’
The graduation ceremony also highlighted the social impact aspect of the program which instills the importance of giving back to communities in the fellows. It is mandatory for each fellow to be part of a two-month project called the ‘Mega Project’ which requires for fellows to come with a workable solution to a challenge faced by their communities. Over the last two years, the fellows have delivered 615 such projects and impacted 21,256 people throughout the country.