L to R: P.S.M. Charles, District Secretary, Donglin Li, Country Director of the ILO Office for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Ambassador David Daly and Gotabaya Jayaratne, Secretary to the Ministry of Labour and Trade Union Relations opening the PES Centre
The third of four Public Employment Services (PES) Centres being launched under the EU Support for District Development Programme (EU-SDDP) was declared open at Arasady, Batticaloa by David Daly, Ambassador of European Union to Sri Lanka and the Maldives recently.
Present on the occasion were Gotabaya Jayaratne, Secretary to the Ministry of Labour and Trade Union Relations, Donglin Li, Country Director of the ILO Office for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, P.S.M. Charles, District Secretary and H.G.G.J. Dharmasena, Director General of the Department of Manpower and Employment.
As part of its interventions under the EU-SDDP to reduce youth unemployment in the districts of Vavuniya, Mannar, Batticaloa, and Ampara, ILO supports the establishment of four district PES Centres. Two centers have already opened in Vavuniya and Mannar and Batticaloa becomes the third. The Centre was refurbished, fully furnished and equipped by ILO with the funds provided by the European Union under EU-SDDP.
H.G.G.J. Dharmasena, Director General of the Department of Manpower and Employment said that his Department has planned to expand the network of PES centers island-wide and that this programme would be strengthened through donor and consolidated funds for the benefit of youth in the districts. He disclosed that a National Public Employment Services Center is to be opened in Colombo within the month with the
support of ILO.
In his address, Donglin Li stressed that the main development issue globally is the unemployment of youth. He said that ILO through its projects in the North and East of Sri Lanka addresses this issue by strengthening the cooperative movements to create more employment opportunities. Under the EU-SDDP, ILO supports market-oriented training courses to enhance employable skills for the youth as well as the expansion of employment services within the districts to match job-seekers to labour market demands. He confirmed that ILO would continue its support to establish an active labour market information system in the country to promote youth employment.
Gotabaya Jayaratne, Secretary to the Ministry of Labour and Trade Union Relations spoke of the Ministry’s long term plan to resolve unemployment and emphasized the key role the Ministry plays in the implementation of the National Human Resources and Employment Policy and the government’s pledge to deliver “One million jobs in 5 years”. The PES Centres act as a ‘one stop service centre’ for youth to obtain labour market information and career guidance. The EU-SDDP with a total financial envelope of EUR 60 million aims at supporting the Government of Sri Lanka’s thrust for economic and social development in 7 conflict-affected districts covering half a million people.