Continuing to empower young people, who are the lifeline of the nation, HSBC announced a joint initiative with Microsoft Sri Lanka, the Ministry of Education, Sarvodaya-Fusion and Global Talent Coach & Consultants (Pvt) Ltd to train and develop 400 young people in the North, East, South and West of the country through IT and leadership skills.

Left to right: Mr.Jagath Peris, Director, Global Talent Coach & Consultants; Mr Subasena De Silva, Executive Director, Sarvodaya; Mr Nick Nicolaou, Chief Executive Officer HSBC Sri Lanka and Maldives; Mr Anura Dissanayake, Secretary to the Ministry of Education; Mr Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne, Country Manager for Microsoft in Sri Lanka & Maldives; and Mr Isura Silva, Manager, Sarvodaya Fusion

According to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Skills Development, Sri Lanka has a population of 5 million youth, equal to 26 percent of the total population. Each year, around 280,000 students leave the school education system having completed their GCE (O/L) and GCE (A/L) examinations. Hence, 92 percent of young people are seeking alternate avenues leading to productive employment opportunities.

As such, this programme aims to identify 400 potential youth in Jaffna, Matara, Batticaloa and Ja-ela and equip them with the required leadership and IT skills, enabling them to be future leaders who will drive the economic and development goals of the country.

Both Microsoft and HSBC believe that Sri Lanka’s youth hold immense potential as the next generation leaders and it is expected of them to contribute to the development of the economy and ensure a better and more prosperous future with the use of technology.

Microsoft has pledged to make a substantial investment through their world-recognized curricula to train young people in IT skills. The training programmes will be conducted over a period of six months with an allocated time for practical sessions, theory and revision. Each course will cover the basics of essential computing skills that are required for employment and help build self-confidence, which will enable participants to apply IT in their day to day lives. Microsoft will make further investment towards the development of the programme in all four provinces.

“IT skills are important no matter where you find employment, as computers have become a basic tool that is used in almost every home or office. We have over the last 8 years of our operations, helped to bridge the digital divide in Sri Lanka in a number of ways and we are happy to partner HSBC in another project which will help to empower our youth and make their future brighter,” commented Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne, Country Manager, Microsoft Sri Lanka.

The selection of young people will be done in consultation with the Ministry of Education, whose mission is to develop competent citizens through innovative and modern approaches to education leading to efficiency, equity and high quality performance, ensuring stakeholder satisfaction.

HSBC will work in tandem with all partners to ensure the progress of the intended programmes. The Bank will proactively organise launch events in each province to foster participation of students, teachers and parents in creating further awareness among residents in the localities.

Nick Nicolaou, Chief Executive Officer for HSBC Sri Lanka and the Maldives, stated, “Expanding experiences and access to IT education, as well as providing leadership based training will facilitate a much needed development and employment opportunity for these young people. We hope this on-going support will be used effectively in working towards the set goals in making themselves competent and an economic resource for the future.”

As the main implementing partner of the project, Sarvodaya–Fusion will help facilitate these programmes at their training centres located island-wide, while the leadership trainings will be conducted by Global Talent Coach & Consultants (Pvt) Ltd (GTCC).

Isura Silva, Manager of Sarvodaya-Fusion, stated, “As a social enterprise we empower rural tele-centres to be financially sustainable through ‘Fusion-Education’ which has trained more than 3000 students since 2009. It’s great to connect again with HSBC and Microsoft in these projects who believe in employability of young people in their CSR programs.”