Proper Guidance towards choosing a future career path can make a big impact on a youth’s future, especially for those who come from marginalized communities where a “Future Career” is only defined in terms of Doctors, Engineers, Teachers and another few professions. Though they have so much potential, these youth are often not so open to the idea of stepping outside these boundaries and exploring new career paths nor do they seem to correctly understand the competition for university entrance or even the employ-ability of University graduates in Sri Lanka. These youth from rural, low income Sri Lankan communities often possess lots of talents with tremendous potential towards a bright future but as a result of lacking the soft skills required  to be employed in professional careers, they often end up in low level jobs such as clerical, labor work and garment jobs.

The scholarship programme of Microsoft & HSBC in partnership with Fusion is one such attempt taken in supporting these sort of talented youth across Sri Lanka. As the 3rd phase of this CSR Project, Career Guidance Programmes are being held in the project Districts – Jaffna, Matara, Gampaha and Batticaloa. The top 50 students from each district who have excelled in the DICA final examination are selected to get the career guidance training. As of now, the programmes in Jaffna and Matara Districts have concluded successfully and the Gampaha and Batticaloa programmes are scheduled to be held on the 11th of July and 25th of July 2014 respectively.

This Career Guidance workshop is a full day training (9.00 am – 5.00pm) that raise awareness on different career options available in the job market and provides students with soft skills required in getting a competitive job. The workshop covers a range of topics such as Practical Skills in Career Management, Developing positive mind sets, Looking for the right kind of Job, Creating “killer” resume, Interviewing Strategies, Grooming, Body Language, Ethical issues in career management etc.

Looking back at the concluded programmes, the Jaffna workshop was held on the 13th of June 2014 in Vaddu Hindu College, Jaffna with the participation of 39 students. The HSBC Team lead by Ms. Amirtha did a good job in providing these students with personal career counseling and soft skills training along with a few brainstorming and team building games. The Jaffna Branch Manager of HSBC participated the closing ceremony as a special guest and presented gifts to the winners of the games.  Following this all the participants were given gifts by HSBC Staff appreciating their participation.

On the other hand, the Matara District programme was held on the 27th of June 2014 at the Morawaka Keerthi Abeywickrama National College with the participation of 50 students. The Zonal Director and Assistant Director of Morawaka zonal division and an official representing Ministry of Education along with the principal of Morawaka Keerthi Abeywickrama National College; Mr. W.W. Mahinda participated the opening ceremony of the programme.

Mr. Suneth Chaminda, Manager of Kenturkey IT Centre lighting the oil lamp

The HSBC Team lead by Ms. Roshani conducted quite an effective training using both personal counseling and visual media tools for demonstrations. As well, the past DICA students of Kenturky IT Centre, Morawaka guided by the centre Manager Mr. Suneth Chaminda provided immense support throughout the programme, looking into all the logistic arrangements required during the programme.

HSBC Team providing advise to Morawaka Students

The support extended by the Director IT- Ministry of Education; Mr. Neil Gunadasa, The Zonal Education Directors of Jaffna and Morawaka Zonal Divisions, Mrs.Dilini Fernando; Corporate Sustainability Manager -HSBC, Mrs. Janakie Karunarathne; community affairs Manager Microsoft Sri Lanka, HSBC Teams lead by Ms. Amirtha and Ms. Roshani, Mr. S. Dananjayan; principal of Vaddu Hindu college – Jaffna, Mr. W.W.Mahinda- Principal of Morawaka Keerthi Abeywickrama National College, Mr. Sasikaran and Mr. Suneth Chaminda -Sarvodaya Fusion coordinators for Jaffna and Matara Districts, was tremendous without which the success of these programmes would not have been achieved.