Fund for Innovative Training (FIT)

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Under Component III of the TVET Reform Support Programme, the Fund for Innovative Training (FIT) has been set up as an instrument to assist the TVET reform in Pakistan through stimulating and supporting innovative approaches to skills development. FIT is designed as a funding facility providing support to organizations in Pakistan that aim to develop, introduce, expand or pilot skills development initiatives in line with National Skills Strategy priorities, and thus potentially generate new experience about how best to address access, equity, quality and relevance challenges in the Pakistani TVET system.

FIT aims at:

(1) increasing the employability of Pakistani youth and women and other defined target groups by facilitating access to appropriate and relevant training in a flexible manner, and
(2) generating lessons learnt, best practice and replicable models for skills development in Pakistan.

FIT interventions should mainly target skills development interventions for marginalized groups. Overall, at least 75 per cent of all FIT beneficiaries are expected to come from poor households.

FIT Purpose and Objectives

"Stimulate projects and initiatives that develop, test and disseminate innovative and effective approaches to employment-oriented skills development in Pakistan with the aim to increase access of poor and marginalized target groups and to enhance the labour-market responsiveness of skill development offers."

Specific objectives of FIT are:

  1. Stimulating the emergence of relevant training programmes leading to employment opportunities in sustainable agriculture, optimised use of natural resources, energy efficiency, and wider use of renewable energy;
  2. Increasing access to employment-oriented training of marginalized target groups, in particular women and youth from poor households, and conflict- and disaster-affected areas;
  3. Increasing the relevance of TVET by strengthening the involvement of employers in skills development and improving the quality of enterprise-based training;
  4. Developing innovative approaches to skills development for self-employment and enterprise development with a particular emphasis on approaches provided in the framework of social entrepreneurship.

FIT is designed to generate innovation in the skills development landscape of Pakistan. FIT-funded projects should therefore always suggest new solutions to identified quality, relevance, access and cost challenges. This may include new avenues to training delivery, new partnership models between training providers and stakeholders, new curricular concepts or new approaches to include target groups that are currently neglected.

Principally, all FIT-funded projects should ultimately aim at enhancing the employability (both in wages and self-employment) of beneficiaries.

The Four Windows of FIT

The four specific objectives of FIT have been translated into four funding "Windows", namely

Window 1: "Green Skills"
Window 2: "Access for Marginalized Groups"
Window 3: "Get Enterprises on Board"
Window 4: "Self-employment Promotion"

Window 1: "Green Skills"

The objective of this window is to stimulate TVET initiatives that will assist the development of sustainable agriculture, efficient use of natural resources, energy efficiency and use of renewable energies in Pakistan and create related employment opportunities. The window is designed to promote skills development initiatives that support the ongoing efforts of the Government of Pakistan and its development partners to exploit the country's potentials in agricultural and energy sectors.

Under Window 1, skills development and employment creation programmes will be supported that:

Support the creation of green jobs and new enterprises in the fields of renewable energy and energy efficiency;
Promote the development and dissemination of sustainable agricultural practices such as organic farming and processing of agricultural products;
Foster the development and dissemination of "green" technologies.

Projects should ideally be integrated into wider and more comprehensive initiatives to agri-business and green technologies development to ensure the emergence of sustainable markets with employment and business opportunities of trained target groups.

Window 2: "Access for Marginalized Groups"

Window 2 intends to increase access to employment-oriented training for women (especially marginalized women such as single mothers and female household heads who have a particularly high poverty incidence), youth from poor households, conflict- and disaster-affected areas, internally displaced people (IDPs), people with disabilities, and transgender. These target groups are currently particularly underserved in terms of skills development opportunities, either because they cannot afford training, their level of education does not allow them to participate in formal training programmes, there is a general shortage of training facilities in certain areas or because cultural barriers prevent participation.

Projects eligible for funding under this window would therefore include, for example:

Financial assistance schemes such as vouchers or stipends to allow students from poor households to participate in skills development initiatives;
Innovative strategies to increase access of underserved communities to training opportunities;
Distance and e-learning initiatives, not only but specifically also in border and conflict-affected areas;
New market models (e.g. franchising) for increasing outreach of training programmes;
Skills development opportunities for women in non-traditional and technology-based occupations;
Introduction of new training opportunities for youth and women in Fata, Gilgit Baltistan and Baluchistan;
New skills development options for particularly vulnerable women, street children, transgender, people with disabilities, and other marginalised groups.

Window 3: "Get Enterprises on Board"

The objective of Window 3 is to improve the quality and relevance of skills development through involvement of the world of work. The rationale of this window is that skills development is getting better and more relevant if and when participation of enterprises and industry representative in course design and training delivery is increasing and linkages between TVET institutions and enterprises are getting deeper. In Pakistan such linkages are often not developed.

The window will support initiatives that build and enhance the relationship between training providers and enterprises and that develop models to engage enterprises in training delivery. A special emphasis will also be on initiatives that have the potential to improve quality in the Ustad-Shagird system.

Examples for projects that would qualify for FIT support under this window include:

Projects that improve the quality, recognition and reputation of training, but also the working conditions within the Ustard-Shagird system;
New approaches to cooperation between enterprises or industry associations and training institutions including public private partnerships;
Pilot approaches to modernize apprenticeship training in the formal sector;
Training initiatives by companies, groups of companies or industry associations (enterprise-based training and industry-driven training centres);
Training provided by companies as embedded services, i.e. training that is provided by companies as part of a business relationship for example training to suppliers or customers;
Staff training geared to improve enterprise competitiveness, in particular in the informal sector.

Window 4: "Self-employment Promotion"

The objective of the fourth window is to promote self-employment and entrepreneurship development - including social entrepreneurship - through innovative approaches to integrate skills development with business and market development. The rationale of the window is that while self-employment constitutes an important target labour market for TVET graduates, skills development (both technical and entrepreneurship/business development skills) alone is usually not sufficient to enable graduates to successfully start an own enterprise. Other complementary business development services need to be accessible as well, for example access to finance, access to markets, input supplies, or business mentorship. The window therefore tries to stimulate new approaches to self-employment promotion that aims at linking skills development with more comprehensive approaches to business services development, and to develop systematic skills development programmes within the framework of broader market and value chain development programmes.

Projects that may be supported under Window 4 include:

New approaches to self-employment and entrepreneurship skills promotion, including follow-up services for young enterprises;
New approaches to link skills development with other business/entrepreneurship development services, e.g. through incubators, or appropriate microfinance products;
Skills development related to the development and market introduction of new products and services;
Skills development in the context of value chain development programmes;
Development of employment and self-employment promotion programmes organized in accordance with the principles of social entrepreneurship.

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