“An idle Mind is the Devil’s Workshop”
The above adage was one of the main reasons for social unrest in Sri Lanka around 1971.
As the YMBA ‘s contribution towards proper employment of the youth in Sri Lanka, The Vocational Training Institute was set- up at Rajagiriya in 1974.
The trainees were taught electrical engineering (AC/DC), Motor Mechanism, Carpentry, Metal fitting, Lathe Operation and Plumbing. Forty trainees in deserving circumstances were given free board and lodging by the Association. After their formal training, they were also given on- the job training and awarded certificates. Qualified trainees could also sit for the examinations conducted by the National Apprenticeship Board.
The property at Rajagiriya was state owned. Hence, the property and project were handed over to the Vocational Training Authority of Sri Lanka in 2006 The VTA has located their Colombo District Head Office in the premises and is conducting variety of training courses In the Institute..
VOCATIONAL TRAINING INSTITUTE DIVULAPITIYA
The Vocational Training Institute at Divulapitiya was set up in 1991 and training commenced in that year. The decision to locate the institute at Divulapitiya was taken because a study done in 1988 had revealed that the highest number of food stamp holders in the Gampaha district was in Divulapitiya and that youth unemployment in the area was high. The Association was able to construct the buildings for the Institute in two acres given by the Land Reforms Commission and to purchase the necessary equipment with the assistance of the Canadian Development Fund. Training is given at the Institute to boys between 17to 19 years of age. They are trained for one year and receive on the job training in recognized workshops for a further year. The trades they are taught include Motor Mechanism, Lathe Operation, Metal Fitting, Light Electrical Work and Carpentry.
Training at Divulapitiya
In 1991/1992 the first batch of trainees was chosen and in addition to technical training which would enable young people to find jobs. it was hoped that the institute would help to improve the socio economic conditions of the district.
The Sri Lankan Canada Development Fund helped the YMBA to put up the building and purchase machinery and equipment for training, with generous donations made by the Canadian NGO cardinal Leger and his endeavors, a subsidiary of Jules and Paul Emile Leger Foundations.
During the past 22 years over2 500 boys between the ages of 17 to 19 years have passed out as trained persons. Among the traders they learn are Motor Mechanism, Lathe Operation, Metal Fitting, Light Electrical work and Carpentry. They are trained for one year and then receive one more year of on –the – job practical training in recognized workshops.
Over 500 girls between the ages of 17 and 22 have completed training in industrial sewing, dress and flower making. The majority of trainees both boys and girls have found jobs or are self employed .Those who pass the tests are issued with certificates. The National Vocational Training Authority has extended its cooperation to the Institute by enabling trainees to sit its examinations and receive its training allowances.
The Hatton National Bank has also arranged a program on Entrepreneur Development for the benefit of the trainees.
Trainees work in a Buddhistic atmosphere and participate in Buddhist activities. The trainees maintain the gardens and grow vegetable too so that they get some training in agriculture as well. The Institute has capacity for the training of 250 students each year.
Over the years, the Institute has been receiving donations from well wishers. The Divisional Secretary,,Divulapitiya donated tools and equipment worth Rs.200,000 and the Negambo Peoplished Transport Services donated an unserviceable diesel engine and spares worth approximately Rs.75,000.
The Institute of Construction Training and Development ( ICTAD ) has also been most cooperative by permitting students to sit the trade tests conducted by it .The trainees have performed extremely well.
Messrs DIAS Mechanical Engineering works Ltd. Wattala one of the institutions to which the trainees are sent for in- house training recently repaired the lathe machine free of charge, the cost being Rs.7000 Justin Dias, the proprietor has also donated raw materials to the Institute. The planning, establishment and management of the Institute to date has been the responsibility of Mr. S.J.Walpita, a member of the Board of Management.
Since 2006 this Project is run as a joint venture by the Colombo YMBA and the Vocational Training Authority of Sri Lanka..Colombo YMBA owns the land and buildings. and has provided motor car and motor cycles, several computers ,machinery training aids tools and instruments Whilst the VTA bears the cost of maintenance of the institute and pays the salaries of instructors The project is successfully run as a joint – Venture
Mahesh Mallawaratchie,Vice Presidenty YMBA ,Branch Secretary
suren Abeygoonasekera President YMBA
Kusumabandu Samarawickrema Vice President YMBA
Tilak Gunasekare member YMBA
Lasantha Jayawardana member YMBA