Training Youth for Employment in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a beautiful country with high literacy and health levels. Unfortunately, a third of the people live on less than $2 a day. Young people in particular have found it difficult to get jobs, frustrating them and adding to increasing poverty rates in the country.  Sri Lanka’s economy is growing, offering opportunities for youth in a dynamic market environment. 

What We're Doing: 

WUSC provides training for marginalized youth and women in Sri Lanka to:

  • learn the skills and access resources necessary to find employment in areas such as carpentry, masonry, mechanics and electronics;
  • better support themselves and their family members, helping to end the cycle of poverty;
  • learn “life skills” to help them in their jobs and daily lives (e.g. money management, small business development, nutrition, health, gender equality awareness);
  • focus on women finding higher-income jobs to increase visibility and social acceptance of women in “non-traditional” jobs.
What We're Learning: 
  • Labour market information is key to identifying appropriate areas for skilled trades training
  • Private sector involvement enhances the relevance of training
  • Greater collaboration between stakeholders (government, NGOs, community organizations, private sector) improves delivery of training and increases employment potential
  • A holistic approach that includes life skills and entrepreneurship skills with vocational training results in higher employment rates

WUSC began implementing vocational training programs in Sri Lanka in 1989, as an income-generation and skills-training project for youth affected by the civil conflict. WUSC has since learned and adapted its programming in Sri Lanka for more than 20 years. Based on our successful work, WUSC increased the number of districts where skills training is offered, building strong relationships with local partners. Now there are 11 districts in North, South and East delivering vocational training for marginalized youth and women (Badulla, Monaragala, Hambantota, Matara, Batticaloa, Ampara, Trincomalee, Vavuniya, Mannar, Jaffna, Anuradhapura).

In the current reconstruction and long-term development phase, there are unique challenges for organizations like WUSC that are working in Sri Lanka. Nevertheless, WUSC has built a record of success through years of practical efforts on the ground by:

  • respecting the specific situation of each community in which we work;
  • maintaining strict impartiality in the country's active conflict (now ended);
  • delivering quality programming to people from all ethnic groups regardless of ethnicity or where they live;
  • being transparent in our operations and reporting;
  • ensuring our funds are used solely for development activities.
WUSC's Opportunities for Training in Needed Skills (PRET-Options) is funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

Tags: Sri Lanka

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