Dignitaries attend formal opening of touring WUSC photographic exhibit about Sri Lankan youth and employment in the trades

COLOMBO- November 17, 2016

More than 60 people, including many dignitaries, attended the Colombo opening of a WUSC exhibit of 60 stunningly beautiful large-scale photographs by internationally celebrated Italian photographer Lorenzo Moscia.

The exhibition, titled My Dreams, My Skills, My Journey, documents the pre-employment life of Sri Lankan youth, and showcases their experiences in technical training and their eventual employment.

Its formal, by-invitation only opening was held in the evening Nov. 15 and it was also open and free to the public on Nov. 16 at the Stables at Park Street Mews.  As part of a countrywide tour, it will be mounted in 2017 in four provinces: Galle, Batticaloa. Jaffna and Puttalam.

At the opening, Honourable Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, Minister of Skills Development and Technical Training, spoke about the importance of youth and outlined the steps that his ministry is taking to improve skills training and to ensure an inclusive education for all Sri Lankan youth.

Youth unemployment in the first quarter of 2016 stood at 21.5 percent. The highest unemployment rate is among the category of 15-24 years old, and unemployment rates are   disproportionately higher among young women.

Minister Samarasinghe said that his ministry is committed to “catch” the interest of Sri Lankan youth from age 16 and to promote the benefits of skills training as a route to employment in trades such as construction, light engineering, hospitality and tourism and information and communication technology.  Sector skills councils established by the ministry are working to facilitate links to employment and to ensure the highest standards in training facilities, he added.

The exhibition was launched by Her Excellency Shelley Whiting, the High Commissioner of Canada, who stressed the strong and longstanding ties between the two countries.

My Dreams, My Skills, My Journey was mounted to “highlight the issue of youth unemployment and at the same time the potential that careers in the trades and technology sectors have for addressing unemployment,” WUSC Country Director Esther McIntosh told the opening event.

Minister Samarasinghe reflected on the close relationship between his ministry and WUSC. “I have no doubt that whatever WUSC and the Government of Canada come up with is always in the interest of helping Sri Lanka’s youth.”

The event was also attended by Honourable Minister Mano Ganesan, Minister of National Co-Existence Dialogue and Official Languages, Honourable Buddhika Pathirana, Member of Parliament for Matara, the diplomatic community and several of the youth who are featured in the photographs.

This event was a part of WUSC Sri Lanka’s Advancing Skills for Economic Transformation (ASSET) project, a multi-year skills and technical training program designed to increase employment in the sectors of hospitality and tourism, construction, automotive and information technology. The ASSET project is funded by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada (GAC). The tour of the exhibition will culminate in a closing presentation in Ottawa, Canada.

For further information, please contact: Devaki Gomez at t: +94 11 2504277 / 2599491 | e: devaki@wusc.lk