Airtel ‘21For21’ to empower youth | Sunday Observer

Airtel ‘21For21’ to empower youth

11 October, 2020
The winners of the 21For21 ‘Skills at Work’ photo competition received their prizes at the Airtel Lanka Head Office, at the World Trade Centre. From left: The three winners  Nishanth Rajasegaram, Tharindu Dileepa,  Kanchana Herath with  Chief Marketing Officer, Airtel Lanka, Chandrashekhar Singh Chauhan, Mission Director, USAID Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Reed Aeschliman,  Partnerships Director, YouLead, Ms. Vindya Silva and Head, Contact Experience, Airtel, Fawaz Nizamdeen.
The winners of the 21For21 ‘Skills at Work’ photo competition received their prizes at the Airtel Lanka Head Office, at the World Trade Centre. From left: The three winners Nishanth Rajasegaram, Tharindu Dileepa, Kanchana Herath with Chief Marketing Officer, Airtel Lanka, Chandrashekhar Singh Chauhan, Mission Director, USAID Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Reed Aeschliman, Partnerships Director, YouLead, Ms. Vindya Silva and Head, Contact Experience, Airtel, Fawaz Nizamdeen.

Airtel Lanka partnered with the USAID-funded youth skills development and entrepreneurship project, YouLead to mark World Youth Skills Day (WYSD) and International Youth Day (IYD) 2020 on the theme of ‘21FOR21’.

The objective of the campaign was to introduce 21 critical skills for youth employment and entrepreneurship in the 21st century.

This year’s WYSD and IYD took place in a challenging context. The Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown measures have led to worldwide slowing down and in most cases closure of educational institutions. Airtel collaborated with YouLead to give youth an opportunity for uninterrupted skills development online during the pandemic.

Advocating certain skills important to Airtel such as critical thinking, leadership, innovation, technological literacy and diversity, the campaign featured a resource site, youlead.lk/skills, which hosted content including a series of videos highlighting the role of these skills in successful careers followed by multiple webinars to further hone in on the practical content and the importance of these skills at the workplace.

Airtel’s CEO and Managing Director, Ashish Chandra said: “The digital age has been characterised by a rapid shift from traditional industry to an economy primarily based upon information technology.

Funded by the American people, YouLead works to improve technical and vocational education and training, create a more skilled workforce, and increase employment by undertaking activities that support and strengthen students, teachers, institutions, and entrepreneurs. It is supported by the U.S. Government’s development arm, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

As a global initiative spearheaded by Sri Lanka and adopted by the UN general assembly in December 2014, WYSD also serves as a reminder to young people and educators alike to cultivate demand-driven, industry-focused, quality technical and vocational skills to generate youth employability.

According to the Sri Lanka Labour Force Survey, only 30% of youth aged 15-24 entered the labour force and among these 21.4% were unemployed which was 53.4% of the total unemployment rate in Sri Lanka (Department of Census and Statistics, 2018).

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