Challenges in skills development of youth in Sri Lanka

There is a dire need to develop skills of youth in different vocations and grooming them to have employment opportunities plenteously; but it requires structured intervention from both public and private sectors, says CIPM President Jayantha Amarasinghe.

For Sri Lanka to realise its full economic potential to deliver inclusive growth for everyone, it must create more opportunities for youth to develop their skills. The youth need guidance on acquiring skills to enhance employment opportunities. In this context, vocational training is essential not only for employment but also to meaningfully contribute to the country’s economy and in its growth. In this regard, offering young people the right education, training, and skills that are necessary to succeed is important. Structuring skills development/ vocational training in Sri Lanka are prerequisites for Jayantha Amarasinghe, the President of CIPM Sri Lanka, who is passionate about youth development.

The Institute of Personnel Management was founded in 1959 as a professional body to develop and promote the profession of personnel management. The Institute was incorporated by Act No.24 of Parliament, and by amendment Act No. 31 of 2018 it was elevated as the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management Sri Lanka (CIPM). The CIPM is a member of the Asia Pacific Federation of Human Resource Management and affiliated to the World Federation of People Management Associations. The act of incorporation empowered the institute broadly to promote and develop the principles, techniques, and practice of personnel management in Sri Lanka. The act also empowered CIPM to promote the study of personnel management and research into the best means of applying the techniques of the HR discipline for industrial and economic development of Sri Lanka.

Amarasinghe shares his thoughts on the need to reform and re-structure the existing system, uplift and expand the scope of vocational and technical training and to have employable youth in order to foster inclusive economic prosperity for which  CIPM can provide support.

Why is it important to look at educating the youth and giving them the necessary skills?

It is a common expectation in Sri Lanka that the government must provide youth with education and even give them entry into universities. In fact, if youth do not get into university, they may think that their entire life is over. We can change this thought process by creating vocational training centres/ colleges to develop skills of youth in different vocations as per their talent/interests that do not just cover machine operation, but also electronic, print media, beauty culture, professional plumbers, professional carpenters, professional welders, professional farmers, designers, crane operators, mass media, planters, hospitality trade, logistics,  aviation,  manufacturing, building construction,  multimedia technology, motor mechanism, tourism, baking, cookery, fashion designing, craftsmanship, entrepreneurship, and so much more. Vocational training centres should ideally be funded and run by private institutes in tandem with the government.

All students who complete their Ordinary and/or Advanced Level examinations should be offered career guidance services. CIPM is willing to implement a system for the government where we can train over 300 school teachers on how to provide career guidance in different professions. It should also include careers, as mentioned above, to give children a wider pool to choose from. Skills like these are in high demand in the market, especially overseas, but we do not share this information with students. The traditional routes of medicine, engineering, accounting, marketing, HR or IT are fine, but it is up to us to generate interest for a larger choice of professions.

There should be a process of issuing certification to youth upon completion of skills development or the vocational training which will enable them to find employment opportunities in local and international markets as well as self-employment. If they do not focus on their area of study aiming for employment/self-employment, then they are less likely to find work. Instead of pushing students towards university, offering other unconventional career paths with suitable vocational training available will do a lot of good. So, in the event a student does not get into university, they will not turn to options that allow you to earn money fast like driving a three-wheeler.

What are the emerging industries that would encourage young people who do not aspire for higher education?

There are many emerging industries of which construction is going to be huge in the country especially with the Port City coming up. Tourism, manufacturing, and agriculture will also rise. It is important that the government identifies all the emerging industries for the next three to four years, so they can drive skills development. It is critical that we strategically focus on skills development to ensure there are sufficient jobs available. Starting from identifying the student’s interests, to what area of study they would like to pursue, what education it requires and how much it will cost and finding the funds (i.e., bank loans, etc.). These are things that we desperately need to strategically put in place.

To increase Sri Lanka’s GDP, we need a strong labour workforce. An institute like CIPM is ready to provide the required knowledge with the workforce analysis to help move things along.

How do you suggest the government effectively engage with the private sector to invest in vocational training?

The government has already started driving this. They need to do a preliminary study to assess the areas of study required and put a process in place. Thereafter, identify what key vocational training centres are required for the country. Then, it is a matter of finding and inviting local investors to step forward to take ownership of these training centres. It is also important the government make it mandatory for every student to attend a career guidance program before they leave school. This will allow them to gather vital information. The next step is to switch our mindsets from believing “the government has to provide jobs” to a mindset that “the government will facilitate them.” We also need to change the belief that careers like plumbing, painting or carpentry are not as professional as medicine, engineering, accounting or law. The area of agriculture/ farming are critical skills that all people need. It is time professions like these are recognized, regularized, and accepted in the country. To increase Sri Lanka’s GDP, we need a strong labour workforce. An institute like CIPM is ready to provide the required knowledge with the workforce analysis to help move things along.

Challenges in skills development of youth in Sri Lanka

Jayantha Amarasinghe CIPM, President

There is a dire need to develop skills of youth in different vocations and grooming them to have employment opportunities plenteously; but it requires structured intervention from both public and private sectors, says CIPM President Jayantha Amarasinghe.

For Sri Lanka to realise its full economic potential to deliver inclusive growth for everyone, it must create more opportunities for youth to develop their skills. The youth need guidance on acquiring skills to enhance employment opportunities. In this context, vocational training is essential not only for employment but also to meaningfully contribute to the country’s economy and in its growth. In this regard, offering young people the right education, training, and skills that are necessary to succeed is important. Structuring skills development/ vocational training in Sri Lanka are prerequisites for Jayantha Amarasinghe, the President of CIPM Sri Lanka, who is passionate about youth development.

The Institute of Personnel Management was founded in 1959 as a professional body to develop and promote the profession of personnel management. The Institute was incorporated by Act No.24 of Parliament, and by amendment Act No. 31 of 2018 it was elevated as the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management Sri Lanka (CIPM).

The CIPM is a member of the Asia Pacific Federation of Human Resource Management and affiliated to the World Federation of People Management Associations. The act of incorporation empowered the institute broadly to promote and develop the principles, techniques, and practice of personnel management in Sri Lanka. The act also empowered CIPM to promote the study of personnel management and research into the best means of applying the techniques of the HR discipline for industrial and economic development of Sri Lanka.

Amarasinghe shares his thoughts on the need to reform and re-structure the existing system, uplift and expand the scope of vocational and technical training and to have employable youth in order to foster inclusive economic prosperity for which  CIPM can provide support.

Why is it important to look at educating the youth and giving them the necessary skills?

It is a common expectation in Sri Lanka that the government must provide youth with education and even give them entry into universities. In fact, if youth do not get into university, they may think that their entire life is over. We can change this thought process by creating vocational training centres/ colleges to develop skills of youth in different vocations as per their talent/interests that do not just cover machine operation, but also electronic, print media, beauty culture, professional plumbers, professional carpenters, professional welders, professional farmers, designers, crane operators, mass media, planters, hospitality trade, logistics,  aviation,  manufacturing, building construction,  multimedia technology, motor mechanism, tourism, baking, cookery, fashion designing, craftsmanship, entrepreneurship, and so much more. Vocational training centres should ideally be funded and run by private institutes in tandem with the government.

All students who complete their Ordinary and/or Advanced Level examinations should be offered career guidance services. CIPM is willing to implement a system for the government where we can train over 300 school teachers on how to provide career guidance in different professions. It should also include careers, as mentioned above, to give children a wider pool to choose from. Skills like these are in high demand in the market, especially overseas, but we do not share this information with students. The traditional routes of medicine, engineering, accounting, marketing, HR or IT are fine, but it is up to us to generate interest for a larger choice of professions.

There should be a process of issuing certification to youth upon completion of skills development or the vocational training which will enable them to find employment opportunities in local and international markets as well as self-employment. If they do not focus on their area of study aiming for employment/self-employment, then they are less likely to find work. Instead of pushing students towards university, offering other unconventional career paths with suitable vocational training available will do a lot of good. So, in the event a student does not get into university, they will not turn to options that allow you to earn money fast like driving a three-wheeler.

What are the emerging industries that would encourage young people who do not aspire for higher education?

There are many emerging industries of which construction is going to be huge in the country especially with the Port City coming up. Tourism, manufacturing, and agriculture will also rise. It is important that the government identifies all the emerging industries for the next three to four years, so they can drive skills development. It is critical that we strategically focus on skills development to ensure there are sufficient jobs available. Starting from identifying the student’s interests, to what area of study they would like to pursue, what education it requires and how much it will cost and finding the funds (i.e., bank loans, etc.). These are things that we desperately need to strategically put in place.

How do you suggest the government effectively engage with the private sector to invest in vocational training?

The government has already started driving this. They need to do a preliminary study to assess the areas of study required and put a process in place. Thereafter, identify what key vocational training centres are required for the country. Then, it is a matter of finding and inviting local investors to step forward to take ownership of these training centres. It is also important the government make it mandatory for every student to attend a career guidance program before they leave school. This will allow them to gather vital information.

The next step is to switch our mindsets from believing “the government has to provide jobs” to a mindset that “the government will facilitate them.” We also need to change the belief that careers like plumbing, painting or carpentry are not as professional as medicine, engineering, accounting or law. The area of agriculture/ farming are critical skills that all people need. It is time professions like these are recognized, regularized, and accepted in the country. To increase Sri Lanka’s GDP, we need a strong labour workforce. An institute like CIPM is ready to provide the required knowledge with the workforce analysis to help move things along.

 

To increase Sri Lanka’s GDP, we need a strong labour workforce. An institute like CIPM is ready to provide the required knowledge with the workforce analysis to help move things along.