The Employers’National Network of Youth Initiatives (ENNYI), an initiative of the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) and supported by the International Labour Organization (ILO),which had its soft launchlast month at the EFC premises, was officially launched at the Taj Samudra on March 23rd.
The launch of ENNYI was followed by the launch its official website www.empowerme.lk by the Chairman, EFC, Susantha Ratnayake before a distinguished gathering of representatives of the EFC’s member companies, representatives of the ILO, university academics and officials from the government ministries.
The main objective of the ENNYI is to provide a window for undergraduates into the real world of work through internships offered by the EFC’s member companies. These include leading corporates in the country as well as multi-national companies. Among the other objectives of the ENNYI are, to increase the overall quality of the internship experience, so as to actually contribute to the employability of the intern and the maximization of both the social and private return of the initiative. While ensuring equal opportunities to access merit based internship positions, ENNYI also allows employers to earmark competent young undergraduates and graduates who are potential employees of their organizations. Moreover, ENNYI enables undergraduates from the national universities, coming from less disadvantaged backgrounds, notably from rural areas, to gain access to the world of work before graduation. To facilitate this process, ENNYI has created a common portal www.empowerme.lk. The website is a practical tool for the potential intern and the employer to come to a common platform by enabling easy access of information of both parties.
ENNYI in its initial phase will tie up with the Universities of Colombo, Kelaniya and Ruhuna and thereafter will extend to other universities and institutes. ENNYI will be part of the Global Apprenticeship Network, which is an initiative of the EFC’s international affiliate - the International Organization of Employers.
In his welcome address and the introduction to the ENNYI, Director General, EFC, Kanishka Weerasinghesaid that over the years, members of the EFC and its Affiliated Associations Group have shown much resilience and commitment in creating jobs and other opportunities for the youth despite having to contend with many obstacles. “The EFC’s decision to create a common platform, through the ENNYI, follows the lead to collate these efforts by ‘forging sustainable partnerships’ between the ‘demand side’ and the ‘supply side’ and not forgetting the policy makers.The ‘up-scaling’ in creating decent jobs and developmental opportunities for the youth of this country are the ultimate objectives to be achieved through this venture.”
The Country Director, ILO, for Sri Lanka and Maldives, Donlin Li, speaking at the event said that, for the ILO, the promotion of job opportunities and decent work for young people is a central concern. “The ILO has initiated programmes in Sri Lanka to support youth employment premised upon the four ‘E’s of employment, namely through promoting equality in access to decent work; strengthening the employability of youth to make the transition from school-to-work; building entrepreneurship skills for young people as a means to economic empowerment whilst working closely with employers towards employment creation for young persons by promotion of investment in sectors that generate jobs for youth.”