US joins public and private sectors to launch ‘Career Bus’ that brings job skills to rural youth

Saturday, 8 February 2020 00:02 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The ‘Career Bus’ funded by the United States embarked yesterday (7) on its maiden voyage. Traveling throughout Sri Lanka, it will bring professional employment advising services to rural youth with limited access to career guidance professionals. Developed in partnership with the Vocational Training Authority (VTA) and the private sector, the bus started from Dondra and will stop at more than 30 towns and villages in the Eastern, Southern, Northern, Sabaragamuwa, Uva, and North Central Provinces. It will end its journey in Point Pedro on 1 May. 

“Public and private entities are joining forces to expand job options for young Sri Lankans,” said USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator Javier Piedra at the launch. “Together, we’re helping Sri Lankan youth tap into new opportunities and gain the skills they need to be competitive in the job market.”  The Career Bus is supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and its youth skills development and entrepreneurship program (YouLead). It is also sponsored by the American Chamber of Commerce, Maga Engineering, CareerMe, Pizza Hut, Save the Children, and Headstart. 

“We are grateful for the support of the USAID in making this bus a reality,” said VTA Chairman Damitha Wickramasinghe. “I’m proud that VTA is joined by members of the private sector who see the vital importance of this venture for Sri Lanka’s youth.”

When the Career Bus arrives at a destination, youth will be invited to board the bus, where tables will be set up for one-on-one career counselling. An audio-visual tent will offer information on career choices and entrepreneurship. Inside the bus, youth can access electronic tablets to take a career test and have their career personality profile printed out on the spot. Trained Career Guidance Officers are available to help them interpret the results. 

At some stops, local private companies will also be on hand to tell youth about available job opportunities and accept applications. The Career Bus will continue to make regular journeys to rural destinations across Sri Lanka after it concludes its first trip.