A career within your reach
"The ultimate objective of the fair is to bring opportunities
to the doorstep of the students so they have direct access to institutions
and training organisations."
By Esther Williams
Of the approximate 80,000 students who complete their
A levels annually, only 12760 are absorbed into the 12 existing universities
in Sri Lanka. The remaining students if steered into the proper direction
can also make a significant contribution to the nation.
Sadly, however, those who do not make the grade owing to insufficient
guidance, and the unemployed, unaware of the career options available to
them are sometimes led astray. Results of a survey conducted by the Sri
Lanka Anti-Narcotics Association (SLANA), reveal that an alarming number
of youth in the age group of 15-29 are being arrested for drug abuse.
It is not only human resources but also capital that is being wasted
through drug abuse that is affecting our society in various ways. This
forms an important target group that the country needs to address. To add
to this, the economic recession has raised the level of unemployment to
around 25% for those in the 15-24 age group.
It is to meet this urgent need that the National Career Fair 2002 is
being organised jointly by SLANA (Sri Lanka Anti Narcotics Association)
and the Rotary Club of Colombo. The event, the first of its kind (at a
national level) will bring together educators, trainers and counsellors
to meet with students and thereby introduce their institutions and courses
available. It will be a one-stop marketing place offering new and exciting
educational and training services and opportunities to gain information
in choosing careers, thus opening the doors to whole new world of education.
The recent trend has shown many school leavers opting for software development
/ engineering, (the more advertised courses) and spending huge sums on
them. Although this is important, the country does not need so many software
engineers, says Asitha Gunasekara of the Rotary Club, Colombo.
SLANA's Darshinie Guniyangoda, addressing the press stated that, "The
aim of the career fair is to enable students and school-leavers to develop
a career path and make achievable and realistic goals." The fair that will
be held at the Taj Samudra (North Lawn) on March 8, 9 and 10 will bring
together students, school leavers, parents, teachers, employers and those
looking for career options and career changes. Parents and teachers are
especially targeted as they play a vital role in guiding and supporting
the students in choosing their area of interest.
The organisers hope the fair will draw an estimated 5000 visitors. Entrance
to the fair is free and transportation could be organised on request for
On all three days, speakers from different fields which will include
institutions of Higher Education, Hospitality, Medicine, Law, Arts, Crafts,
Beauty, Fashion, Tourism, Social Service, Armed Forces, Airline and Marine
services and Education Officers of Foreign Embassies will be making presentations
and explaining potential opportunities in their respective fields. Details
of obtaining scholarships to study abroad will be available. Participating
institutions numbering over 150, from all the areas mentioned above will
stress the need for either higher education or vocational training that
would help students prepare for successful careers in the highly competitive
Schools will also have the opportunity to set up appointments with interested
parties, for them to visit their campus / classroom and discuss curricula.
For the country it would ensure that the human resources of the nation
are more productively engaged for its economic development.
The Chairman of the Board of Investment Arjuna Mahendran, is reported
to have said that the country needed an adequate trained work force in
order to invite foreign investment into the country. To be able to do so,
he stated that the country should be ready with the workforce trained in
modern technological skills to suit investor requirements. Could this Career
Fair 2002 be a step towards achieving this?
According to Project Co-ordinator of the National Career Fair, Arun
Thapar, "The ulitimate objective of the fair is to bring opportunities
to the doorstep of the students so they have direct access to such institutions
and training organisations." The Project officer has called for institutions
to reserve space and expects a good response. "It is a non-profit venture
and any funds made would be used purely for community development," he
Kumar Nadesan, President of SLANA announced that the fair would be annual
feature to which the Taj Samudra has provided tremendous support. Prime
Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is expected to open the fair.