The Sri Lanka Association for Software Services Companies (SLASSCOM), the apex body representing the IT/BPM Industry, officially relaunched its Future Careers Bridge (FCB) website recently. The 2.0 version of the FCB platform comes with a range of new features and an improved user experience as part of its plans to attract more Sri Lankan youth to join the ICT sector. The event, held at Cinnamon Grand Colombo, was graced by Trine Jøranli Eskedal – Norwegian Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Debra Mosel – Deputy Mission Director USAID Sri Lanka and Maldives and representatives from SLASSCOM, USAID, Royal Norwegian Embassy, YouLead and key industry sectors including ICT and higher education.
Sri Lanka’s IT/BPM industry is pushing to cross USD 5 billion in export revenue by 2025. The industry is, however, facing a skills shortage due to the limited number of IT graduates emerging out of the local education system. One of the primary objectives of SLASSCOM is to identify, enable and develop ready and employable talent in the industry. The revamped SLASSCOM FCB platform allows students to complete online challenges under diverse IT career paths, build a profile based on their performance and compete on the FCB Leader boards. Students can also find mentors and request assistance from industry experts through FCB. Top-performing students will be selected for interviews by partner companies and provided with internship opportunities.
FCB was created in 2019 to channel school leavers who lacked graduate-level qualifications but were interested in joining the sector to find employment in the IT/BPM industry. The platform was developed with the support of USAID’s youth employment and entrepreneurship project YouLead, along with the Royal Norwegian Embassy as Project Partner, HCL Lanka and Dialog Axiata PLC as Corporate Sponsors, and through the voluntary contribution of ideas, support, and expertise from over 50 IT/BPM companies in Sri Lanka.
“Even with the IT/BPM industry on track to become Sri Lanka’s number one export revenue contributor, the sector grapples with recruiting skilled graduates into the ecosystem. This has become a primary reason for slowing our growth momentum. With FCB 2.0, SLASSCOM has built a pathway for Sri Lanka’s talented youth to hone their skills further and to be employed by best IT/BPM companies in the country to pursue their dream career in a sector that has a significant global presence,” said Ashique M. Ali, Chairman of SLASSCOM and Director at Talliance. “On behalf of SLASSCOM, I thank all the sponsors and volunteers who have made this platform a reality.”
SLASSCOM FCB allows public and private educational institutions, including universities and tertiary educational institutes, to enable their students to manage and track their learning and career progress. This will add further value to the platform.
The platform has also enlisted 15 of Sri Lanka’s leading IT/BPM companies as SLASSCOM FCB Partners. They will support training and employment opportunities for youth emerging through the program. The vision of SLASSCOM is to provide all companies in Sri Lanka access to FC Bridge for their youth talent recruitment.
“The technology industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. As many governments and companies move forward to digitize their businesses, there is an evident shortage of global talent which opens up many opportunities. In this context, the new Future Careers Bridge platform launched by SLASSCOM is significant as it will open new paths in ICT careers for many Sri Lankans, particularly for the youth,” said Trine Eskedal, Norwegian Ambassador to Sri Lanka.
At the event, Debra Mosel, Deputy Mission Director USAID Sri Lanka and Maldives, said, “It is a great milestone today to launch Future Careers Bridge 2.0, which opens up more training and learning opportunities for Sri Lankan youth in the ICT sector. I am also delighted that almost half of the users registered to the programme are women. Supporting young women who choose a career in ICT is not just good for them and their families. It is a major accelerator of the socio-economic development of Sri Lanka. As the world faces a major skill shortfall in the ICT sector, we should equip and inspire young women with the skills they need to become ICT professionals. Strong women leaders are critical in helping women access the ICT sector’s rich employment and leadership opportunities.”
Arjuna Nanayakkara, Director of SLASSCOM, CEO at GTN Technologies and Head of Shared Service at GTN Group, said, “A platform like Future Careers Bridge allows Sri Lankan youth to join the global ICT industry. It will infuse better-prepared graduates into the industry as FCB 2.0 enables them through well-curated coursework and soft skill training modules. Furthermore, the Capacity Forum at SLASSCOM provides additional complementary learning solutions to FCB 2.0 so that local ICT companies able to attract skilled talent. To make this a tremendous success, numerous stakeholders have helped. With their assistance, this has today become a national success story. This is the way forward. I also believe this is a great case study for all corporates in the country to make a paradigm shift in how they recruit talent and build competencies when giving career opportunities for graduates.”
SLASSCOM has been the catalyst of growth for the Sri Lankan IT and BPM industry by facilitating investments and market access, talent development and employment, encouraging research and innovation, promoting ESG best practices, and supporting the creation of a forward-thinking and progressive national policy. SLASSCOM’s membership comprises over 420 member companies, encompassing an employee base of 115,000+ people. It accounts for approximately 90% of the export revenue of Sri Lanka’s IT/BPM industry.