Youth Empowerment

Friday, August 24, 2018
Leading private sector firms come together to ensure a high-quality, sustainable workforce for the future of the industry

USAID Project Trains Bank Managers to Encourage Lending to Youth Entrepreneurs

To encourage more lending to youth entrepreneurs, USAID’s YouLead project held a two-day training in April for Sampath Bank branch managers and credit officers responsible for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprise lending. YouLead trained 26 bank officers on how to provide more start-up lending using cash flow and other non-collateralized assessment methods. Sampath Bank, a leading private commercial bank with 229 branches, is one of YouLead’s eight financial institution partners helping the project reach its target of more than 1,000 youth-led start-ups.

USAID's YouLead Project Signs MoUs to Support Sri Lankan Youth  

USAID's YouLead skills development and entrepreneurship project and CareerMe signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work collaboratively on the future of digital career guidance in Sri Lanka. Under this MOU, CareerMe will strengthen YouLead’s career development portal referring youth to education and training providers, financial service providers, and employers.

USAID's YouLead also signed a train-the-trainer MoU with Samurdhi Development Agency in May 2018 to prepare 300 of their community development officers to better identify and prepare potential youth entrepreneurs and assess the quality of business plans. These officers will be empowered to train all of Samurdhi’s 14,000 agents—one in every local government division in Sri Lanka—to cultivate and finance new micro-entrepreneurs. Samurdhi Development Agency empowers needy communities, focuses on development of human capital, strengthens livelihoods and provides micro-finance lending. It’s community banking network has 1,074 branches, serves three million customers, and lent over US $190 million last year — providing 15% for business start-ups and 65% to women.

In May, YouLead also signed MoUs with three additional institutions to increase youth employment and entrepreneurship opportunities. The MoU with Sri Lanka’s largest retail grocery chain, Lanka Sathosa, will enable the company to hire more than 1,000 youth. The second partnership with Bank of Ceylon, Sri Lanka's largest bank with 627 outlets, will train loan officers on credit appraisals for youth-led start-ups. The third MoU with Headstart (Pvt) Ltd., Sri Lanka’s largest educational technology company, will support career development and job-matching software for the Microsoft-donated platform that YouLead is developing. To date, YouLead has signed nineteen such MOUs with the private sector to support youth employment and entrepreneurship in Sri Lanka.

USAID Spreads the Message of Youth Economic Empowerment through Employment

In May, USAID-supported youth ambassadors from Gampaha, Jaffna, and Ratnapura districts took to the radio to talk about the need for young people to take charge of their own economic futures. The discussion centered on changes in the types of employment generated by global markets. The youth ambassadors pointed out the need for improved career guidance for youth and the importance of breaking down gender stereotypes in the workforce. Their discussion went out to approximately 500,000 Sinhala and Tamil listeners on two popular radio stations. It was also live-streamed to an additional 350,000 viewers.

USAID Launches Tourism Workforce Competitiveness Road Map

In June 2018, the Tourism Skills Committee (TSC) supported by USAID's YouLead launched the Tourism Workforce Competitiveness Road Map. This road map marked the culmination of four months of intensive effort by ten dedicated, high-level opinion leaders from the private and public sector's tourism industry and is a first-of-its-kind call to action from the private sector to use their own resources and engage directly in efforts to ensure a high-quality, sustainable workforce for the future of the industry. The road map sets ambitious targets focused in four areas: 1) training and curricula development; 2) outreach to women and youth; 3) research; and 4) changing the industry's engagement with their employees. It is supported by the Ministry of Science, Research, Technology, Skills Development and Vocational Training and Upcountry Heritage and the Ministry of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs.


Last updated: August 24, 2018

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