It was interesting that senior minister DEW Gunasekera who is in charge of COPE on which I expect his impartial reports much in the way that Wijeydasa Rajapkse acted, has alluded to alarmist comments, the validity of which I dispute. Namely, and I quote from an article in the ISLAND newspaper, "The country could no longer ignore rising unemployment. The failure on the part of the Government to address contentious issues, could cause a catastrophic situation....."
In my view and I receive up to 30 applications a day(actually pathetic CVs) from young people of all levels of qualification, looking to our organization to provide them with some cushy jobs. I can place them in jobs paying between Rs10K and Rs15K per month, but they do not want to do those jobs. They are looking more at white collar office jobs, with little knowledge or training on anything English or IT and ability to handle high pressure situations, that are required for these positions.
It is therefore not the availability of jobs, rather the matching of what is available with what it is they are qualified and can do as well as want to do.
I wish he can work with me to solve this problem rather than I work with him as he has been appointed to some "National Steering Committee to formulate Human Resources Policy". This seems a very ill-fated nebulous directive to farm out the oldies in government, but which does not need time wasters just some immediate steps to take control of the issues and get going.
We are in the middle of addressing this issue ourselves and it is the lack of funds to implement them that I am grappling with. I can assure you I have the ability to go national immediately if I have the resources, and have the seminars for the youth all over the country so they can understand the real employment jobs mismatch and what it is that is required off them and what it is they need to do to get there as well as how we can assist them in achieving these objectives.
I am firmly of the opinion the National Youth Corps or the National Youth Services Council and a whole host of government sponsored youth training and vocational training institutes, are run by incompetent people not able to understand the real issues and are therefore leading the youth of this country up the gum tree giving them false expectations of what they can do and therefore disappoint them in their quest for productive and remunerative employment.
Another case in point was an ad we placed recently (Large prminant display ad in a Sinhala Sunday Paper) for a job as a research assistant from the pool of unemployed graduates, giving preference to those who had some ability to work in English and be IT literate. We were shocked that we only received 25 applications!!! and of those only 10 were actually unemployed at the time. The job did not mention a salary.
What does this imply? There are no unemployed grads! Or is it that they are looking for Government appointments? Do not want to relocate to Colombo? The job description is one they don't like? or some other reason.
If I was a young unemployed graduate, and I saw the job advert I would have applied, as it sounded quite interesting and challenging. So it is our people do not want to do challenging and interesting things? Do they just want a desk in Colombo, a title and a pay check and get out of the office at 4pm. like all the government servants in Colombo offices do?
Is it that these people the educated unemployed are going to agitate like the youth of Cairo? Have no fear DEW of that. Getting them up at 4 and coming into to Colombo to agitate for their rights even is something I am sure they will not do. Our Society has spoiled them to thinking that they are owed a living, beyond their competence. It is that fact that needs to be addressed.
SO please don't waste time in these committees discussing spurious theories, do the fieldwork immediately, put the ads for different jobs, look at the replies and then call them in for interviews and then ascertain what the real human resources problem is rather than getting experts who live in ivory towers completely devoid of reality to come up with the answers.