Every year nearly 500,000 youth sit for Ordinary Level (O/Ls) Examination and approximately 250,000 youth get through their O/Ls and qualify for the Advanced Level (A/Ls). Of this 100,000 youth pass their Advanced Level Examination with 3 passes, that being the minimum qualification to qualify for university entry. However, only close to 25,000 these students get selected for the university education.
In this context, there are nearly 475,000 youth who pass from O/L threshold every year. They are neither academically qualified nor vocationally skilled for employment available in the market. They often wonder what employment opportunities could be available to them.
U IMPACT being a pioneering initiative of Lanka Impact Investing Network (LIIN), the first impact investing private equity fund and the network of Sri Lankan impact investors is established to bring corporate engagement, partnerships and collaboration to create a sustainable framework for youth empowerment through vocational training and skills development.
The first of the pilot of U IMPACT was launched on 28 September in Hambantota District in a collaborative corporate partnership with People’s Leasing & Finance Plc (PLC), the country’s premier finance company that contributes to the country’s development by mainly serving the small and medium entrepreneurs, World University Service of Canada (WUSC) and Kawantissa Vocational Training Center of Tissamaharama.
This collaborative corporate partnership between PLC, LIIN, WUSC and KVTC is an initiative with long-term commitment to train and develop the skills of three deserving youth from poorest of the poor families of Hambantota District for One Year training in Automobile Mechanics, with PLC providing financial assistance for three school leavers from Tissamaharama area to complete their vocational training and on the job apprentice training at the service points of People’s Leasing Fleet Management Ltd. (PLFML) subsidiary of PLC with prospects for job placement.
LIIN Chairman Chandula Abeywickrema said at the launch, “This is an important and timely commitment by PLC to partner on this project not as a one off sponsorship but a greater commitment to Youth Empowerment through vocational training and skills development as a part of corporate sustainability strategy of PLC.”
He also appreciated the much greater engagement and commitment of WUSC to build capacity of vocational training in Sri Lanka and facilitating this pioneering pilot project. Chandula Abeywickrema said, “Like the model of German Dual Education Program, the U IMPACT Project could trigger much needed private sector corporate commitment to vocational training as a key strategy to strengthen their respective industry development and sustainability through a more pragmatic approach for human resources build up and development.”
Commenting on this initiative WUSC Country Director Esther McIntosh said, “This is a very welcoming and pioneering initiative and WUSC is pleased to be a partner. There is clearly a need for more manpower in key industries of the economy, and this initiative allows for a new generation of skilled young professionals to gain an opportunity to enter the sector. We need more financing models that support private training providers and students to increase the numbers they can train for industry.”
“Enterprise development and financial literacy being one of our key CSR areas, and our subsidiary People’s Leasing Fleet Management Ltd. with expertise in Automobile Mechanics, PLC is pleased to be involved in this initiative as a joint CSR of both PLC and PLFML subsidiary. The project will be managed as a CSR initiative of PLC Tissamaharama Branch,” stated DGM – Marketing Laksanda Gunawardene.
“PLC would finance this empowerment initiative and PLFML will provide internship opportunity for the students subsequently,” added DGM – Recoveries Damith Malawithanthila, who also oversees PLFML operations.
The launch was held at KVTC Tissamarahama and attended by PLC Tissamaharama Branch Manager Shanaka Chaminda and his team, WUSC team led by Deputy Director Programs Deepthi Lamahewa and LIIN Chairman Chandula Abeywickrema