USAID and Pizza Hut open first commercial training kitchen for youth

30 October, 2022
Officials of  Skill Development, Ministry of Education, Pizza Hut International at the launch

Unlocking new opportunities for youth in the growing fast-food sector, Sri Lanka launched its first vocational training kitchen on October 14 at the Technical College in Kuliyapitiya. USAID will develop a new curriculum aligned to global best practices and train vocational trainers and assessors for the program.

Funded by a US$ 1.3 million grant from the Yum! Brands Foundation, the vocational training kitchen initiative titled ‘An Equal Slice for Everyone’ is the first in a series implemented through a partnership between USAID’s Youth Employment and Business Start-Up activity, YouLead; Gamma Pizzakraft Lanka, the owner of the Pizza Hut franchise in Sri Lanka; and the Sevalanka Foundation. 

With funding from Yum! Brands Foundation, the An Equal Slice for Everyone initiative will build vocational training kitchens at 28 Vocational Training Authority and Department of Technical Education and Training centers across Sri Lanka. The initiative will train 2,100 youth annually on equipment and processes important for a career in the fast-food industry. Two centers will also be dedicated to training youth with disabilities.

“We need to create more vocational training facilities like the one we launched today to enable our youth to find better employment in in-demand jobs,” Jagath Saputhanthrige, Director General of the Department of Technical Education and Training.

Upon successful completion of a six-month course, which includes on-the-job training, students will receive a National Vocational Qualification Level 3 certification. Taco Bell, Domino’s, McDonald’s, Burger King and Popeyes pledged to support Pizza Hut’s efforts by providing trainers and employment opportunities for graduates.   “An Equal Slice for Everyone will help create a regular inflow of work-ready youth for Sri Lanka’s rapidly growing fast food industry while supporting youth aspirations for a better future,” said Chairman and CEO of Gamma Pizzakraft Amar Raj Singh.

Through YouLead, USAID will assist in the development of new curricula aligned to global industry best practices and provide training for vocational instructors and assessors who will deliver the training and certify learning outcomes. YouLead aims to improve vocational education in Sri Lanka, build a more skilled workforce, and link youth to productive careers.

Micah Globerson, Deputy Director Economic Growth Office of USAID said, “It is particularly encouraging to note that the program helps marginalized youth to gain access to skills training and jobs in a growing industry.”

– Sunday Observer Sri Lanka

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