USAID and Pizza Hut Open First of 28 Commercial Training Kitchens for Sri Lankan Youth

October, 18, 2022

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,” Mr. Jagath Saputhanthrige, Director General of the Department of Technical Education and Training. “I would like to acknowledge the U.S. Government’s continued support to the people of Sri Lanka and Pizza Hut International for contributing to this initiative and working with the public sector vocational training institutions to empower the youth of this country.”

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. “At Pizza Hut, we also have a strong commitment to inclusivity and have enabled many young individuals with disabilities to find gainful employment and the financial independence they dream of. We have included specialized training centers for youth with disabilities in this program and we are confident that it will encourage more youth with disabilities to seek out careers in this industry.”

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.

“I am proud to see so many U.S. brands participating in this program and throwing their support behind the career development of Sri Lanka’s talented youth,” said Mr. Micah Globerson, Deputy Director Economic Growth Office of USAID. “It is particularly encouraging to note that the program helps marginalized youth to gain access to skills training and jobs in a growing industry.”