[Pictured at the commencement of the MAGA – YouLead partnership in 2019, standing L-to-R: YouLead Partnerships Manager, Mr Sharada Weerwardana; YouLead Partnerships Director, Ms Vindya Silva; YouLead Project Director, Mr Charles Conconi; MAGA Chairman and Managing Director, Mr M G Kularatne; MAGA Director of Finance and Planning, Mr Mega Kularatne]
MAGA Engineering and the U. S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) youth employment and business startup project – YouLead, have cemented their partnership under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work towards better outcomes and opportunities for Sri Lankan youth. MAGA and YouLead have worked together since September 2019, with a focus on skills development and creation of better employment opportunities for young people in the construction industry. Active through May 2024, the MoU was signed by MAGA Chairman and Managing Director Mr. M G Kularatne, and YouLead Project Director Mr. Charles Conconi.
Through a comprehensive Training of Trainers (ToT) programme organised by YouLead, over 60 specialised trainers of MAGA were empowered and upskilled to better train youth in the construction and engineering sector. Through continuous training and skills-building carried out at project sites across the island, these experienced training staff of MAGA have assisted more than 1,500 youth entering the construction industry to gain technical expertise and invaluable on-the-job experience. The two organisations will continue to collaborate in the design, development, and effective implementation of training programmes focused on the construction sector including technical training, project management skill-building, and supervisory skills development to support upskilling of youth across Sri Lanka.
Commenting on the signing of the MoU, Chairman and Managing Director of MAGA Mr. M G Kularatne stated “From inception, MAGA has believed in empowering and supporting Sri Lankan youth to gain employable skills that are essential to unlocking opportunities and building a better future for all. Therefore, we are proud to continue our partnership with USAID’s YouLead project in whom we have found a like-minded partner to support, train, and create opportunities for young people. On behalf of the construction industry, we wish to thank the YouLead team for their initiative and contribution in this space”.
Speaking on YouLead’s focus of improving the vocational skills and employability of Sri Lankan youth, YouLead Project Director, Charles Conconi said “Through USAID, we are happy to have the opportunity to help MAGA build a larger Sri Lankan workforce that is skilled in the latest construction practices and technologies. Partnering with industry leaders such as MAGA to train their own trainers allows us to help structure a training experience that is closely aligned with the needs of this fast-growing sector. It also ensures that the added talent and capacity remains in Sri Lanka to build youth skills and good jobs long into the future.”
YouLead is a USD 18 million program supported by USAID, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and the European Union and implemented by International Executive Service Corps (IESC). It works to improve technical and vocational education and training, create a more skilled workforce, and link youth to more productive careers by undertaking activities to support and strengthen students, teachers, institutions, and entrepreneurs.
Sri Lanka’s leading construction company, MAGA Engineering, is the largest employer in the country’s construction sector. As a registered Training Institute with the Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission (TVEC), MAGA continues to work with the Ministry of Skills Development and Vocational Training and other public and private partners to contribute to youth development in Sri Lanka. MAGA’s contribution to work-based vocational training has been recognised with multiple National Vocational Training Excellence awards.