PITB’s upcoming IT Bootcamp initiative
Each day that I interact with the Punjab IT Board (PITB) team, I realize that there is renewed energy in their activities, and they are out to do some things that they feel are very important for the IT industry in Punjab. Their main objective, they say, is to help the industry grow. And what is more important is that they are taking all stakeholders on board and are holding consultation sessions with different segments of the industry before they embark on any new initiatives.
On Tuesday for instance, CEOs from technology companies in Punjab have been invited to the PITB office in Model Town to discuss an initiative which is being referred to as the IT Bootcamp.
The purpose of this meeting is to discuss and agree upon tentative outlines for an IT Boot Camp for fresh graduates to prepare them for the current job market. The gap in knowledge and skill of fresh graduates has been something that has been voiced by many CEOS and CTOs in Pakistan as well as around the region.
The first IT Boot Camp of 50 students at each of the campuses is being planned this summer for about 9 weeks and will be conducted at the FAST, PUCIT and LUMS campuses. So what is the idea? The program will be advertised and applicants will be screened online before they are asked to come for interviews and tests at various IT colleges. The course fee will be Rs.100,000, 80% of which will be subsidized by PITB.
IT companies are being asked to assist in structuring the program and the course content, as well as to teach the course. Companies are also being asked to provide 12 month internships to all students who pass out of this Boot Camp. PITB will give Rs. 10,000 subsidies for 6 months for each student thus employed.
Some reservations have already been expressed. There is a larger supply of qualified graduates available on the market right now than there were in previous years so is the Boot Camp really necessary at this stage? Will the program be able to attract good quality applicants from Tier1/Tier2/Tier 3 universities? And even if it does attract them, how does one incentivize these kids to spend 9 weeks in a Boot Camp and consider investing Rs. 20,000 to improve their chances of getting a good job? Is it even feasible to expect them to? Will companies commit to hiring these kids? Will they stick to their commitments? Will they take time out to help structure and deliver the program? How can continuity be ensured? The PITB’s intent is that this not be a one-off program.
After the completion of the first Boot Camp, they want to extend the program to other cities in Punjab like Faisalabad and Multan and to other university campuses.
I have asked PITB’s permission to put up this information so that some of you can contribute to the discussion and help them make this into a workable program that has a buy-in from all stakeholders. Come on guys and gals. These chaps are trying to do something for our industry. Let’s help them. They are open to productive feedback, criticism and ideas. The team comprising Dr. Jawaid Ghani, the Chairman, Athar Mian, the Chief Strategy Officer, COO Joudat Ayaz and Nasser Lone are all very gung-ho and are keen to help the IT sector grow. Let us extend our support as partners and team-players.
I guess some of these questions will be answered during the meeting on Tuesday which I am looking forward to attending.
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