Developing skills for a resilient and career-ready youth


“Before this programme, I was not confident in communicating in English. Today, I am able to provide my feedback on the programme in English, without the help of anyone after following this programme. I believe that this will help me to a great extent in the future. I would like to thank John Keells for going beyond business relationships and supporting their suppliers,” said Ms. Kumari Rajakaruna, a participant of the SKIP (Skill into Progress) programme – a customized, industry-based programme developed by John Keells Foundation to support the upskilling of identified supplier groups of the John Keells Group to address their skill gaps and thereby enhance quality of service and income opportunities in a post-pandemic environment.

The initiative was first piloted among chauffeur guides of Walkers Tours and Whittall Boustead Travel while another customized programme was conducted for suppliers of Keells supermarkets. This programme will continue to upskill different supplier groups as means of supply chain management facilitation of the John Keells Group.

The SKIP programme is the latest link in a chain of skills development initiatives planned and implemented by John Keells Foundation since its establishment over 16 years ago. The John Keells Group has long understood that access to relevant education and skills development are of crucial importance in ensuring the availability of a productive and motivated labour force in Sri Lanka. As such, the Group through its CSR entity, John Keells Foundation (JKF), has prioritized the need for developing market relevant skills of children and youth across Sri Lanka.

According to the Labour Force Survey Report by the Department of Census and Statistics – Sri Lanka, the estimated youth unemployment rate in Sri Lanka in 2020 was at 25.7 per cent and this situation is expected to be aggravated by the continuing pandemic.

World Youth Skills Day, observed annually on 15th July, focuses on the strategic importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship.

This has also been the primary focus of JKF’s Education pillar under which an array of long-term sustainable initiatives has been developed and implemented for the benefit of selected children, youth and other target groups, empowering approximately 25,000 persons over the years.