ECONOMYNEXT- A growing proportion of graduates from Sri Lanka's trade schools are finding formal jobs, with most of them being hired by the private sector, a study by Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) has found.
The schools taught a variety of skills ranging from carpentry to information technology. A study covered students passing out from technical and vocational education and training (TVET) schools between 2011 and 2016.
"The job placement rate of TVET graduates improved from 47.5 percent in 2011 to 54.5 percent in 2016, exceeding the Skills Sector Development Programme target," ADB said
The study found that the private sector recruited 77.1 percent of the employed TVET graduates.
Employers offering formal contracts had seen a big increase over the five years.
"Of those employed in the private sector, 59.6 percent had fixed or long-term work arrangements with their employers, up from 45.1 percent in 2011, indicating better formalization of employment," ADB said.
Most jobs were found through friends and relatives, while some were found through on-the-job training, media, the internet and direct approach by employers.
Skilled jobs will be in demand as Sri Lanka transitions to upper-middle-income status, ADB said.
"However, the youth unemployment rate remains quite high because of skills shortages and mismatches with labor market demands."
In Sri Lanka many graduates from tax payer funded state universities are unemployed and they agitate in front of a railway station in the capital Colombo demanding government jobs with pensions at the expense of society.
Of the 45 percent of trade school graduates who are unemployed, around half are jobless involuntarily.
Involuntary unemployment was high among those who studied office management, marine and nautical science and ICT.
More women preferred indoor-related work, and chose to follow courses such as ICT which did not have high enough demand to meet the supply.
Women also did not travel as far as men to train at trade schools, which limited their study options.
"Social attitudes and influences were not very much in favor of women seeking employment in sectors such as tourism, as compared to men," ADB said.
"These factors limited choices for women," it said.
Women also looked for jobs based on working conditions, such as work-life balance, flexibility and offices near their homes.
Only 40.2 percent of female graduates found jobs in 2016, which was below average, but a gain from 34.8 percent in 2011.
Overall, the influence of parents and family members in choosing what to study has shown a decline.
"The primary information source of TVET course shifted from family in 2011 to friends and colleagues in 2016," ADB said.
The ADB report said more GCE A/L qualified students were enrolling in trade schools.
"More students with GCE A/L qualifications might make it difficult for TVET institutions to attract students in construction and associated fields," ADB said. (Colombo/Jan14/2019)