Sri Lanka has some of the worst youth unemployment figures in South Asia, according to Shyama Salgado, National Programme Officer, Youth Employment and Gender Focal Point, International Labour Organisation (ILO) Sri Lanka office.
Speaking to the Business Times on the sidelines of the recently held “Young Voices from Sri Lanka” workshop, organised by the country's Ministry of Youth Affairs and Skills Development and the local ILO office, Ms. Salgado also suggested that, while literacy levels were reported as being high, the challenge was how this could be translated into skills. She also added that the country had low social protection in terms of youth unemployment. For example, workers with little experience, as is often the case with youth, are typically ineligible for unemployment benefits and other forms of social assistance.
Further, she also added that respect for youth should be part of policies facilitating access to jobs, such as those that form part of a company's triple bottom line.
Ms. Salgado also noted that one possible area where youth can get jobs in Sri Lanka was in 'green economy' initiatives.
This would allow them to gain new skills, or even get "re-skilled", and often youth are better suited to these initiatives than older job seekers.