First private sector job fair

Ishan Jalill, Disability Inclusion Specialist - International Foundation for Electoral Systems, Manique Gunaratne Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC), Isuru Samarage, National President Sri Lanka - Junior Chamber International Sri Lanka (JCISL), Suranga Nanayakkara, Assistant Professor - Singapore University of Technology and Design and Dillon Abraham, JCI Kollupitiya Chapter Representative.

The Junior Chamber International (JCI), Kollupitiya chapter, is hosting Sri Lanka’s first-ever private sector-organised Diversity and Inclusion Career Day on November 12. Starting at 9 am the event will go on till 2 pm at Barista Museum, Colombo 7.

This unique initiative will feature a number of high-profile local companies offering employment opportunities that are truly accessible to any individual, irrespective of their strengths.

The overarching aim of this novel career day is to, ideally, not just share current employment opportunities in the workplace, but also showcase the impressive talents and abilities on offer by different groups. As a result, promoting a greater degree of diversity and inclusion within Sri Lanka’s companies.

Endorsed by the government of Sri Lanka, as well as organisations such as Enable Sri Lanka and the Employees Federation of Ceylon, this November 12 career day will be principally aimed at attracting those who have had some university exposure in the past, such as those from the Universities of Kelaniya, Colombo, Peradeniya and Moratuwa, as well as even other public and private sector academic institutions. Further, those having undertaken some type of professional qualification, whether complete or not, are also invited to participate.

Importantly, attendees will also have the opportunity to interact with a number of Sri Lankan corporates, wherein they will talk to key decision makers, check out the various career options on offer and discuss their individual suitability for these interesting job roles.

To date, a number of exciting and supportive partners have already stepped forward to kick off this very worthwhile initiative, including Toyota, MAS Active, HNB, Barista, Rotaract Club of ACBT, Emerging Media, Learn TV, Young Biologists Association, McQuire Rens Global, alfa MarTech, etc.

JCI Kollupitiya is also requesting that even more Sri Lankan corporates sign up for the Diversity and Inclusion Career Day 2016, to exercise their civic duty and show their support for differently-abled communities by effectively demonstrating their willingness to recruit during the November 12 event. This will, in turn, kick start a continuous back and forth between companies and possibly marginalised communities, with the end result being the successful mitigation of many of the barriers faced by each stakeholder using best practices.

A key area of interest will also be creating awareness amongst companies that persons with disabilities are able to work hard and, in fact, can show even more potential and drive than ordinary citizens.

At the same time, this career day will also encompass a number of activities, set up to continually engage and wow potential recruits and the general public. For instance, several prototype products that can aid persons with disabilities will be on display at the Barista Museum, conceived by Suranga Nanayakkara, an Assistant Professor at the Singapore University of Technology and Design.

One of these is the “Finger Reader”, which works entirely on sensors to help a visually impaired persons “listen” to what words they drag their finger along. Another is the “Stick Ear”, a portable ear aids the hearing impaired by lighting different colored lights, attuned to certain sounds.

There will also be several “Experience Corners” that will, in a very basic way, simulate the effects of the most common disabilities. These include “Blindfold Simulation”, where the participant dons a blindfold and attempts to perform everyday tasks, and the “Basics of Sign Language”. The latter, conducted by a professional in the field from the University of Kelaniya, allows people to become aware of the simple “signs”, and related words and/or letters, used by people with hearing impairments.

A session on the rights of persons with disabilities will also be conducted by a professional in the field, to make people more aware about what inclusion and disability rights entail. This will foster a greater understanding of the rights of persons with disabilities among every participant, and even the staff of partner organisations.

It will also make everyone aware of how little these rights are safeguarded and protected, which why there are frequent cases of discrimination and marginalisation.

There will also be an exhibition of photographs from a “Blind Photography” competition, held by JCI Iceland. This showcase was initially prompted by visually impaired people being asked to “Capture a photograph when you FEEL REALLY GOOD.” Afterward, a committee screened the best photographs captured by these individuals, and a JCI Iceland representative will be present at the Diversity and Inclusion Career Day 2016 to share those photographs with Sri Lankans to great effect.

This career day will conclude with an amazing performance by Kosala Dullewa Foundation, an organisation focused on dance training, which is named for, and operated by, a very talented individual who is a role model to many for following his passion for dance. He also just happens to have Downs Syndrome.


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