SOS Children’s Villages Sri Lanka launches YouthCan!


SOS Children’s Villages Sri Lanka launched YouthCan!, a global partnership between corporates and partners which aims to address youth unemployment by providing support and tools needed to help youth prepare for the job market and lead successful, independent lives. YouthCan! will assist youth in both home based care and Family Strengthening Programs of SOS Children’s Villages Sri Lanka.

Youth unemployment is a major issue in Sri Lanka with 22.2% of the youth between the ages 15 – 24 awaiting employment, whilst age group 25 – 29 indicate an unemployment rate of 8.3% as per the Department of Census and Statistics of Sri Lanka. Many youth in Sri Lanka possess technical skills or appropriate academic qualification for a job but lack the soft skills to convert knowledge into a profession. YouthCan! addresses the issue by giving youth the opportunity to apply their talents to the labour market.

Together with corporate partners such as Singer Sri Lanka, HHLL, AIA Insurance, Chevron Lubricants, Elephant House, Arpico, Galadari Hotel, Prima Ceylon Pvt Ltd., Britol, Mitsubishi Corporation, Keells Super, Taj Hotels, Access Engineering, Diamond Cutters, HNB, BOI, ABC Pvt Ltd, Ramada Hotel, Micro Cars Ltd and DHL. SOS Children’s Villages Sri Lanka will support youth by providing them with hands-on experience in a real working environment, access to role models and mentors, entrepreneurship training and skills sharing.

Speaking on this initiative, Ananda B Karunarathne, National Director, SOS Children’s Villages Sri Lanka said, "The transition into the labour market and becoming self-reliant remains a real challenge for young people all across the globe and more so particularly daunting for those who cannot count on the networks, resources and guidance of their own families. Through YouthCan! we want to make sure our youth, whether they are in the care of an SOS family or in a family that is struggling to cope, are prepared to make the leap to independent living".

This unique action-driven co-created network of SOS Children’s Villages, corporates and training partners builds on the expertise of all partners in the area of youth employability with an individualized and holistic approach. All partners make full use of their expertise, networks and experience to create new avenues and opportunities for young people to transition successfully into professional life. The aim is to enable them to become self-supporting and contributing members of their societies.

Launched in line with 3 of the UN Sustainable Development Goal; Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning, promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all and reduce inequality within and among countries, YouthCan! was launched at SOS Children’s Villages in South Africa, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Nigeria, Brazil, Colombia, Rwanda and Jordan in 2017 with 10 more countries including Sri Lanka planned for 2018.

SOS Children’s Villages have been in Sri Lanka for over 36 years with 6 Children’s Villages across the island in Piliyandala, Galle, Nuwara-Eliya, Anuradhapura, Monaragala and Jaffna serving more than 41,000 children.

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