Unilever Sri Lanka and the Vocational Training Authority of Sri Lanka (VTA) unveiled a vocational training centre in the town of Agarapathana recently. The launch ceremony was attended by over 150 people including VTA Chairman Ravi Jayawardana, Ceytea factory manageress Anusha Kotelawala and the first batch of students and their families. The centre, located near Unilever’s Ceytea factory, is a part of the company’s Project Arunella that was launched earlier this year under the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan.
To ensure the long term success of the vocational training centre as well as those who attend it, Unilever and the VTA thoroughly analysed the needs of the community in terms of skill levels and available employment opportunities. Following this analysis it was decided to offer four courses to train people to become beauticians, hair stylists, ICT technicians, and electricians. These professions were deemed to offer people in the area the best opportunity at long term employment.
Each course will last six months and the centre will have two intakes of 60 students each year.
The inaugural intake received an overwhelming response receiving over 150 applications, mainly from family members of Ceytea factory employees, for the programs of whom 60 students have been enrolled.
Commenting on the launch Vocational Training Authority Chairman Ravi Jayawardana said, “At the Vocational Training Authority we are dedicated to making the youth of Sri Lanka more skilled and employable by making vocational training more accessible across the country. This is why we are proud to be launching this vocational training centre with Unilever. This centre will impart the students of this community with invaluable skills that will help them build a career and enjoy economic prosperity. Hence, projects like this help empower communities and strengthen the national economy.”
“We are proud to be partnering with the Vocational Training Authority on this greatly needed project,” said Ceytea Factory Agarapathana Factory Manageress Anusha Kotelawala. “We believe this vocational training centre will not only benefit the students but the community and the economy as well. These goals closely align with our own and as this project continues we hope to bring about more positive and sustainable change to the area. Hence, we will continue to work with others, evaluate the needs of the community and assess where we can have the greatest positive impact.”
Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan was launched in 2010 with the goal of doubling Unilever’s business by 2020 while halving the company’s environmental impact and increasing its positive social impact. In Sri Lanka the Sustainable Living Plan focuses on projects that address the priorities of the Sri Lankan people, while following the guidelines defined for the company’s global targets.