Sri Lanka Country Director:
Career Guidance in Sri Lanka - CareerMe® by Anjana Kulasekara
Workforce development in Sri Lanka faces the changing realities of globalization and competitiveness. Demand for job-specific skills is growing in Sri Lanka as its economy has grown and the composition of its GDP has shifted from agriculture to higher value-added industry services. Although Sri Lankan government continues to invest much resources for providing free education there is a huge skills mismatch between the educated youth and needs of the labor market. Skills mismatch and wrong selection of education courses has resulted in loss of government investment in education.
Career Guidance (CG) is recognized as an important tool to address the issues of skills mismatch and the more appropriate selection of education courses by helping young people identify and prepare for their careers along with the skills needed for the new economy. Career identification and preparation are critical for Sri Lanka's youth to realize a successful future. Studies by various ministries and international organizations confirm that delivery of career guidance and soft skills are weak in Sri Lanka's public-school system. As the public-school system practically has no structured career guidance delivery program and relies on outdated labor market information, a vast majority of students progressing through the educational system are ultimately unable to receive any guidance and depart frustrated at being unable to achieve their educational goals and underprepared for entry into the labor market.
CareerMe® was founded on the belief in the power and potential of career guidance to develop and realize aspirations of young people for sustainable national growth. The organization was initiated with the intention of addressing issues in delivery of career guidance and operates in technical collaboration with Grow Careers Australia. CareerMe® recognizes technology plays a pivotal role in ensuring all youth island-wide have the opportunity to obtain, at minimum, key aspects of guidance prior to leaving school. To this extent CareerMe® has set up a free, web-based platform to provide nationwide, impartial career guidance services in all three national languages (Sinhala, Tamil and English) for youth to explore education and career options that 'FIT'. As part of CareerMe®'s career guidance process, youth are referred to the right education and training providers, financial service providers, as well as employers. Complemented with technology, CareerMe® also conducts trainings for school career guidance teachers/advisors so they receive the know-how to navigate through the complex web of information in the fast-changing world of work and can deliver effective, modern day career guidance to students.
As a pioneer, technology driven career guidance company in Sri Lanka, CareerMe® has been recognized by USAID-implemented project YouLead as their official career guidance partner and selected as the winner of the national digital social impact award, e-Swabhimani, under the Learning and Education category. CareerMe® is devoted to working with students, parents, teachers, career advisors, schools, training institutions, employers, donor community, the UN and international non-governmental organizations to ensure all Sri Lankan youth obtain vital career guidance before entering the world of work. We welcome opportunities to collaborate for the benefit and empowerment of Sri Lankan youth.