Seeking a job opportunity has become a tedious task in the present day since its majorly dependent on the level of academic qualifications and the experience one has gained. It is quite rare for employers to recruit individuals who are willing to make an effort to learn and do the job.

This, however, appears to be an overturning factor in the startup community where employers tend not to delve into the academic qualifications or the level of experience of a potential employee and instead train them with the particular skills required to do the job. This has led to a drastic improvement in the opportunities available for a school leaver.


Academic Qualifications

An academic qualification is vital for a head start into a professional career. That been said, it is not the only thing that is required. Experience in the industry also plays a major role in this. In Sri Lanka, there are primarily two schooling systems, the most common being the local curriculum and the other being IGCSEs (International GCSEs) which are the world’s most popular international qualifications for 14- to 16-year-olds.

Entry into a state university is extremely competitive and as a result only a few get selected. This and various other reasons have forced the government to introduced free courses/ paid training programs specialized for a specific government job. This comes in the form of government and internationally funded vocation training centers which teach and train these special skills with a guaranteed job in the industry. A few examples of this would be:

  • Electrician
  • Hair Styling
  • Medical Records
  • Technician
  • Automotive repair
  • Plumbing
  • Culinary arts
  • Graphic design
  • Fashion design
  • Welding

To read more about the how to apply for vocational centers[xxxxxxx].
On the other hand, the opportunities for IGCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) students are either attending the local private universities or flying abroad to pursue their education at a foreign university. The local private university is relatively cost effective in comparison to the latter option and few options of the best local private universities are:

  • RIC
  • APIT
  • UCL
  • NSBM
  • NIBM
  • SLIM
  • IIT

The above institutes offer students the option of completing the full degree in Sri Lanka or to fly abroad to their respective affiliated university for the latter half of the degree.

Is a Bachelor’s degree important?

This is a question that is brought up by many students however, there is no fixed answer to it. A vocal point that is consistently brought up favoring a bachelor’s degree is the broader exposure it provides as well as the grooming a student gets which might help them to perform at a better level in their job in comparison to a school leaver.

However, the fact is that in today’s society, a degree has become essential for a job. Industries are getting more competitive daily and therefore, having a degree to your name is a tick in the box. Nevertheless, it is important to note that a degree is not the ONLY option for a school leaver.
Experience in the industry is equally important. The next option for a school leaver would therefore be finding a job or becoming a freelancer (A person who provide his or her expertise for a price). Most youngsters have shown great interest in working as soon as they leave school which mainly owes to the financial difficulties that they face, a reality in Sri Lanka. In the long term, however, this proves to be quite an advantage in terms of gaining industrial experience, given the individual starts working in their future career field immediately after leaving school.

Popular job opportunities for a school leaver?


Content writing/ Copy writing

Content writing/ Copy writing is a rapidly growing industry for young adults. If your writing skills are advanced, this industry will help you earn some extra bucks. Many startups prefer to hire youngsters to fill these needs since it tends to be a more flexible and affordable option. Students as well, have the option of continuing their studies whilst working from home.


Tutoring has become an industry with a rocketing demand. Recently, individual classes are in much higher demand and students tend to connect better with young teachers. This is not exclusive to high school students since the main motive is sharing knowledge. Therefore, this could be tutoring crafts to preschool children, music or dance training, education, baking and so on. As a result of this almost exponential demand, home tutoring will have a much wider market in the near future.

Freelancing/ Business

Starting up a business is an opportunity most individuals are glad to embrace since in the current day there is no requirement for a large startup capital due to the omnipresence of social media. People can sell homemade products from the comfort of their own homes by opening an account on the prominent social media platforms with a wide customer base leading to increased awareness of the business whilst eliminating any marketing costs. A few products that are increasingly sold in such a manner are paintings, cakes (sweets in general) and crafts such as birthday cards or even gift hampers. For cooking enthusiasts, UberEATS and Pickme food are two of the best ways to grow the business in Sri Lanka.

The online platforms have made it possible for many individuals to grasp the freelancing opportunities since it is available island wide. As a freelancer, anyone has the opportunity to earn according to their appropriate field of expertise. The following are several popular freelancing fields:

  • Video Editing
  • Photo Editing
  • Logo & T-shirt Designing
  • Graphic Designing
  • Photography

Whilst the above options cater primarily to skilled individuals, there are several manual jobs that are available as well. For example:

  • Carpenter work
  • Garden cleaning
  • Paintwork
  • Part-time kitchen helper
  • Electrical work

Check for more at
As discussed previously, unlike the 90s or early 2000s, opportunities have increased dramatically. These opportunities provide a platform for students and unemployed individuals to be groomed and for them to get a better picture of their interested careers paths. It could also be an opportunity for an employed person to earn a few bucks part-time.


A Telemarketer, or Tele sales Representative, is responsible for talking to potential customers on the phone to sell products or solicit donations. Their duties include:

  • Tracking customer contact lists
  • Explaining the benefits of their products and taking payment information.
  • Meeting sales quotas and facilitating future sales

Management trainee programs

A management trainee works under supervision of managers and executives in an organization. The goal of such programs is to hone the skills of the selected individuals and sharpen their knowledge in order to groom them into becoming future managers, often in fields like marketing, sales and operations.

Sales representative

A sales representative (sales rep for short) is a person whose job is to sell products or services for a company in a particular location. A sales rep can sell directly to customers or to other businesses. Sales reps also sells items directly to the buyer, examples being a retail store or dealership. There could be instances where a sales rep would need to travel for which a vehicle might be required (individual’s or the company’s).

Customer service & Call center executive/ associate

A customer service associate manages customer concerns to maintain positive customer relationships with an organization. They interact directly with customers to listen to concerns, resolve problems, and recommend products and services according to the needs of each individual.

Data entry operator

Data Entry Operators are usually responsible for entering data into different computer databases, managing and maintaining the records effectively. In addition to this, they may be responsible for organizing files, collecting and managing data to be entered into the computer. Basic computer skills are thereby required for this job.

Delivery rider

This job requires the individual to possess an automobile or driving skills for delivering products or services from one place to another. The most popular platforms for these types of jobs are Pickme and Uber. In addition to these two dominating companies, there are a few others who hire people for delivery. In some cases, a vehicle is provided on the job especially with companies that deliver food or essential goods.

Popular Job Search Platforms

  1. LinkedIn,

Entry Level Jobs & Part-time jobs

Entry- level jobs are easier to find for school leavers since there is usually no skill requirement and instead common sense and dedication are the attributes that are needed. In time, skills that are required to reach the level of proficiency that the individual is aiming for can be added and sharpened. Part- time and entry level jobs are quite similar in Sri Lanka where a student can balance their studies, whilst having financial support.

Below are some convenient corporate jobs,

  • Telemarketing
  • Management trainee programs
  • Data entry operator
  • Banking
  • Sales rep
  • Promotion campaigns/ Advertising
  • Customer service executive/ associate
  • Call center executive
  • Data entry cum digital desktop support
  • Delivery rider
  • Operations Service Assistant
  • Customer Service Assistant
  • Retail cashier
  • Sales Assistant jobs in Shops
  • Restaurant Jobs – Waiter Staff
  • Customer Service & Call Center jobs


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