Sri Lanka faces a unique youth employment challenge, particularly in the country’s tea and rubber growing regions. Young people on plantations – who are often part of Sri Lanka’s Tamil minority – lack a diverse choice of employment because of language barriers, limited educational opportunities and geographic isolation.
The project alleviates unemployment and underemployment among rural young people by directing them to vocational training opportunities, providing entrepreneurship training, improving employment and recruitment services for employers and young workers, and developing a curriculum to improve English teaching at schools on plantations.
Moreover, the project contributes to poverty reduction by helping rural young people enter the labour market. By developing the capacity of local staff and institutions it also improves labour market and employment services. In addition, it works closely with plantation companies to promote corporate social responsibility, factory improvements and a good work-life balance.
At national level, the project helps rural and plantation youth raise their issues and promote their views to Government, trade unions and employers’ associations. It works to improve knowledge and understanding of youth employment issues, so supporting policy creation and development.
The project’s activities began in Sabaragamuwa province and may be expanded to other provinces in future.