April 30, 2018, Nuwara Eliya. A job fair was held by UN-Habitat in March 2018 at the Nuwara Eliya District Secretariat premises to support youth in remote villages and estates to find suitable employment opportunities. Organised in collaboration with the Non-Governmental Organisation – Berendina Employment Center (Gte) Ltd, the main objective of the job fair was to link trained youth and job seekers in Nuwara Eliya District with potential employers. The fair provided youth with useful information about available employment, training opportunities and internships and opportunities to interact with representatives of a number of reputed private sector companies as well as NGOs and specialized agencies.
From mid-2017, UN-Habitat conducted several vocational training programmes to enhance the capacity and employability of young women and men in Nuwara Eliya district through the project “Human Development Initiative in the Plantation Settlements in Sri Lanka”. Funded by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), the Project was implemented by UN-Habitat in close collaboration with the Ministry of Hill Country New Villages, Infrastructure and Community Development.
The training programmes were conducted in several locations in Nuwara Eliya district in partnership with a number of specialized agencies and organisations including the National Apprenticeship Training Institute (NAITA), Gamini Dissanayake Institute of Technology & Vocational Studies, Ministry of Tourism Development, Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (SLITHM) and the Vocational Training Authority (VTA). These vocational training programmes benefitted over 154 youth and included programmes on English and Information Technology (IT), Nursing Assistant training, Hotel Management, Tailoring and Wood Craftsmanship. In addition to vocational training, UN-Habitat is also conducting skills training programmes for local construction workers to complement its housing and infrastructure construction projects.
The job fair held in Nuwara Eliya focused specifically on youth who had completed their vocational training under the KOICA funded HDI project as well as other job seekers. Sixty four youths (42men and 22 women) from Nuwara Eliya, Walapane, and Kothmale Divisional Secretariat Divisions attended the event. Representatives from private sector companies such as Innodata Lanka (Pvt) Ltd and DIMO Agribusiness, the agriculture arm of Diesel & Motor Engineering PLC (DIMO) as well as organisations such as NAITA Sri Lanka and HelpAge Sri Lanka participated at the event. They provided information on employment opportunities in the fields of information technology, electrical engineering and marketing, supermarkets, hotel industry and elder care and provided linkages to training and education related to employment, information on the present labour market, as well as training and career advancement opportunities. Interested youth and job seekers then registered with their preferred programmes and companies. The organisations will contact the applicants once their interviews and applications are assessed.
Discussing the event, Ms. Y. Sivakeerthana from Holbrook estate in Agrapatana stated “This job fair has given me valuable insights about the latest trends in the job market. These types of programmes should be conducted in the future as well”.
This job fair brings to a successful conclusion the vocational training programmes and the subsequent “on the job” training provided by UN-Habitat through the HDI project to improve employability of disadvantaged youth in the Nuwara Eliya plantation areas.
The HDI project is contributing towards human development through capacity building of youth, communities and local authorities; increasing resilience of the communities through settlement planning and community infrastructure; and through awareness creation towards mainstreaming plantation settlements. It is expected to benefit over 10,000 persons directly and 250,000 persons indirectly in Nuwara Eliya district. The project was implemented from January 2017 to March 2018 in the Kothmale, Nuwara Eliya and Walapane Divisional Secretariat divisions.