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The number of three-wheelers on Sri Lanka’s roads increases every year with over one fifth of the labour force taking up the profession of being taxi driver. A recent shift in the demographics of this segment has shown an increase in the number of youth that take up the role of a three-wheeler taxi driver. While appreciating the fact that they provide a service in providing accessible transportation, it is generally agreed that in any society, the youth generation employed in a skilled profession would not only result in the enhancement of their own livelihoods but also contribute greatly economically to the country.
Many capable and productive youth choose the three-wheeler trade primarily due to it being one of the easiest livelihood choices whereby a daily income can be earned with minimal effort. This situation has already started effecting the growth of the country with a dire aging population. While we find many unfilled vacancies in light engineering trades such as welding to tinkering and painting, we have witnessed youth of great potential disregarding this gaping requirement. One reason for this may be attributed to their obliviousness of the opportunities that are readily available and the benefits skilled professions can bring to their livelihoods. Among many programmes that the Government is planning, the upscaling of Sri Lanka’s workforce and promoting vocational training takes a very special place.
With the blessing of the PDO (the special committee appointed by the Prime Minister to reform vocational training in the country), DIMO had come forward to promote vocational training to youth. As the first phase of this programme, DIMO invited young three-wheeler drivers between the age group of 18-31 years to the DIMO 800 – Mercedes-Benz Center of Excellence to create awareness among them of the job opportunities that exist in the country. The speakers at the awareness session included Ranjith Pandithage, Chairman and Managing Director of Diesel and Motor Engineering PLC.