First ever career guidance week in Sri Lanka

The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in drastic changes to employment around the globe. As a pioneering state institution that working on Manpower and Employability Improvement in Sri Lanka, the Department of Manpower and Employment is performing its best practices tactically and strategically to deal with the existing prevailing situations effectively.

However, we could not conduct physical programs due to the 3rd wave of the pandemic in 2021. Therefore, we were decided to running the programs using online much as possible for providing career guidance services and awareness to our target population, such as Students (Secondary, Higher & Vocational Education), Teachers, Parents, Job Seekers, Self Employers, Entrepreneurs as planned.

Here, we particularly focused on educating the above target population about the foundations, importance, available services in terms of Career Guidance for the purpose of giving overall understanding to the general public from the grass root level.

Hence, beyond our regular services through the online platforms, the concept for conducting ‘National Career Guidance Week’ initiation began towards educating the students and the youth people, around the middle part of 2021 and was successfully implemented in the name of ‘National Career Guidance Week’ from 4th Oct 2021 to 10th Oct 2021 in Sri Lanka.

In this National Career Guidance Week, we implemented several activities which are related to our departmental mandates on Career Guidance, such as Awareness Programs and Competitions for Targeted Beneficiaries, Online Job Fairs, Continuous Career and Life Talk Sessions, Road Drama’s and Webinar Series.

An essential component of the Career Guidance Week was the online competitions. On the topic of the Importance of Career Guidance, we conducted Art, Speech, Poetry, Essay competitions targeting Secondary Level Students.

Likewise, we also conducted an open level (18+) Essay competition. Students and many other (18+) people have participated than our forecasted level. All these competitions were conducted at the Divisional, District and National levels. All most we received 40,000 total applications and among them around 35,000 were eligible to the entry. Here, our main aim that was to reaching out the target audience. Through the above initiations, we were able to reach them successfully even during the pandemic situation.

Another significant mark of the event was Online Job Fairs. Since we had Covid19 barriers in conducting physical job fairs, we conducted job fairs virtually in the District and National Level’s. Through that, we were able to assist more than 3000 job seekers as well as nearly 100 business entities/Job providers.

In addition to that, we conducted Webinar Series with the participation of Industry professionals, Academics from varies background that mainly related with the entrepreneurship development, self-employment development of the youth.

Through the programs implemented during Career Guidance Week, we were able to educate more than 100,000 people about career guidance.

At this point of time, conducting this kind of National Event though online is challengeable. However, through proper policy level implementation, guidance and the dedication and support of our frontline District and divisional staff’s contributions, we were able to achieve more favorable outcome than the expected level.

Furthermore, through the experiences and learning, we are planning to implement the same event also for this year (2022 Oct) with some modifications as well.

International Relations Unit

Department of Manpower and Employment

Sri Lanka.