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The unemployment rate among youth in Sri Lanka between the ages of 20 – 24 years is at 21.2%, highest among all age groups. In this backdrop, a national mass media social marketing campaign Ekata | Onraa was ceremonially was launched last week in the presence of Chandima Weerakkody, Minister of Skills Development and Vocational Training to promote youth to pursue skilled careers in the areas of lite engineering and automotive, construction, hospitality and tourism and Information Communication and Technology.

This campaign hopes to increase the number of young men and women, including People with Disabilities (PWDs) and youth affected by the war, entering the labour market in these strategic growth industries.

The launch of the campaign brought together and celebrated young men and women who aspire to build their careers in these non-traditional sectors. The official website, www.skillupsrilanka.lk, along with TV commercials for each sector were also launched at the event.

The campaign was launched under the banner, ‘Skill Up Sri Lanka’ and aims to address the urgent issue of skilled labour shortages in growing sectors of the Sri Lankan economy by raising awareness about the value and importance of careers in these sectors. The campaign is an open platform through which key stakeholders are encouraged to join in order to ensure that the message is spread throughout the country.

The campaign brought together a variety of speakers and personalities including; youth representatives, Captain AjithPieres (CINEC), Dmitri Cooray (Jetwing), Eng. Maj. RanjithGunatileke (Sanken Construction), Dr. KithsiriMachanayake (FITIS), Ranjith Pandithage (DIMO/Hayleys) and Dinesh Weerakkody (NHRC). The initial investment in the campaign was made by the Government of Canada, through World University Service of Canada (WUSC) – represented by Her Excellency, Shelley Whiting, High Commissioner of Canada to Sri Lanka and the Maldives.