Case study – working with the Sri Lanka National Youth Corps to support skills development for young people 

How City & Guilds and the National Youth Corps are working to reduce youth unemployment and boost economic growth in Sri Lanka

NYC graduation image 4Regardless of geography and population demographic, finding ways to help young people successfully start their careers is a necessary priority for every country. Whether it’s to replenish an ageing workforce or to fill skills gaps that have emerged through evolving needs created by overall societal changes, preparing the next generation for working life is vital in supporting both economic growth and individual success.

The power of high-quality skills development is not something that is in doubt and while training providers, businesses and individuals all have a role to play, having government support can help to make widespread change to the way that training is delivered. City & Guilds has worked with a number of governments and government-led organisations across the world to more effectively deliver learning opportunities, including recent work with the Ministry of Education and Youth in Jamaica and this is something that is considered central to its purpose both in the UK and globally.  


Closing skills gaps and empowering young people in Sri Lanka

For those working to improve access to employment opportunities for young people in Sri Lanka over the last few years there have been a number of barriers to overcome. In the summer of 2022, the country was in the midst of an economic crisis having been declared bankrupt, leaving limited funds available for learning and development at a time where it was incredibly important to help young people build the skills they needed to be able to successfully find employment either in Sri Lanka or overseas.  

The National Youth Corps (NYC) was established in 2002 and now has 58 training centres across Sri Lanka, delivering academic, vocational, recreational, community based and soft skills focused training modules. Currently operating with the goal of reducing the youth unemployment rate from 28% to 12% by 2026, the NYC aims to instil a combination of skills, knowledge and values that will prepare its students for work and for life in what is a tumultuous period for the country. 


Alignment with City & Guilds

NYC graduation imageThe decision to work with City & Guilds was based on multiple factors but central to the choice was a natural alignment of the aims of both organisations. City & Guilds and the National Youth Corps share a commitment to prioritising the value of skills development in creating positive change in the lives of individuals and on a wider scale. By equipping young people with the skills that they need to succeed in a dynamic job market the NYC, like City & Guilds, is able to empower individuals to reach their full potential in their careers, advancing in their chosen fields and better supporting themselves, their employers and their communities.

For the National Youth Corps, the desire to work with City & Guilds was born from a need to provide additional credibility and recognition to existing programmes. The goal of NYC training has always been to provide high quality skills development and maintain a standard of excellence that opens doors for its learners with employers both in Sri Lanka and overseas and by partnering with City & Guilds, the organisation is able to enhance its own reputation and the reputation of its training. 


Building recognition for the development of soft skills

One challenge for young people from Sri Lanka looking for work is a lack of softer skills as Hifaz Ashroff, Regional Head for City & Guilds explained “We find that many of the young people might be technically very competent, but they are still missing key skills, for example they don’t know how to communicate in an interview. Soft skills and life skills have been ignored within the system in Sri Lanka and that’s something that the National Youth Corps also identified.” 

With this in mind it was decided that City & Guilds Assured accreditation would be sought for the NYC’s Life Skills Development course. This six-month course has been designed for learners aged between 16 and 29 and covers multiple areas including IT skills, English language, Tamil language, career guidance and physical and personality focused training. Aiming to prepare learners for life as well as work, the course emphasises the importance of communication, discipline, leadership and empathy, producing graduates who are ready for the challenges they will face in the world. 

Assured accreditation is a stamp of approval that identifies a training programme as being up to the high standards set by City & Guilds, something that can help set training providers apart from their competitors and give learners certification that will be widely recognised by employers across the world. For an organisation like the National Youth Corps that is looking to nurture and export young talent, working with City & Guilds can be the perfect way to take an already strong course to the next level. 


Delivering national and global impact through skills development 

NYC graduation image 4Thanks to the work of the National Youth Corps in partnership with City & Guilds the potential value of this collaboration is increasingly being recognised. “This kind of engagement with the government is starting to open up more avenues for skills development opportunities.” Ashroff commented “They have realised that they can pursue their goals to a much greater extent not just on a local level but also internationally if they have the right partners and the right international recognition and speaking to major corporations here, I think there are big opportunities for and with businesses too.” 

By facilitating the development and recognition of skills beyond national borders, City & Guilds is proud to be part of an international team dedicated to, upskilling communities across the globe, enabling the export of skilled labour and supporting individuals who want to pursue work opportunities abroad. In partnership with organisations like the National Youth Corps this not only enriches the lives of individuals but also contributes to building a diverse and innovative global workforce that can tackle the challenges of the future. 


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