The service industry – banking, hospitality & tourism, logistics & transport, telecommunications, retailing – is the stage where the global war for talent is being fought. It is the only industry dependent on the human factor for its continued success, whereas manufacturing, already in decline, has only limited scope for a human labour force.
Why Sri Lanka? This is a country bubbling with young, raw talent, with little opportunity to prove themselves, although they could make a difference in the global workforce. And there is a track record of Sri Lanka producing some of the finest financial industry graduates for the global arena – although it may have been some decades ago – to warrant such a belief.
So it is time to change things. And to change the perception that a non-university career path is less attractive than an academic one. In Switzerland, where this institute originates, only a small minority of school leavers enter university. The remainder go for vocational and professional training which is so good that it brings them to the top of industry.
Why is this so? The vocational training sector has always worked very closely with the industry and produced graduates who are job-ready because they acquire skills relevant for industry.
The change we are bringing to Sri Lanka is vocational and professional education of the highest standards with Swiss certification so this country can lead the development for service industry talent not only in Sri Lanka, but in Asia as a whole.
The Swiss Institute commences operations this year with programs in hospitality and banking, which is also the name of the first institute: The Swiss Institute of Hospitality & Banking. Our intentions have been heeded and welcomed by the industry, and we know we can know provide a significant choice for young people contemplating on the future: Whether to embark on a university education route, or to take the professional pathway, both of which are equal in real industry performance terms.
The Swiss Institute is backed by several organizations in Switzerland: The prestigious Swiss Hospitality Academy in Lucerne, the BBZ Academy of Banking from St. Gallen, the heartland of education in Switzerland, the consultancies Business Aligned Services & Solutions AG and Chancental Works GmbH.
The CEO of the new operation in Sri Lanka will be Dr. Rohith Gerald Delilkhan, a Swiss-based UK national with Sri Lankan roots, who has made a name for himself with governments and blue-chip companies in the banking, hospitality and travel industry. He has led German and Swiss companies in Switzerland, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Vietnam, the UAE and Oman, He has an impeccable track record in setting up and running quality education institutions.
The initial program portfolio consists of a major Train-The-Trainer program for hospitality and banking professionals in Sri Lanka to become certified Swiss standards trainers. This will be followed by a complete range of certification courses in hospitality from housekeeping, concierge and butler services, receptionist and front office roles, to food & beverages and kitchen training leading to a full diploma in hospitality. On the banking front we bring the first client advisor certification programs modelled after the Swiss and Singapore competency standards for the financial industry.
First programs commence in June, by year end 1,300 students will be enrolled. By the end of 2017, over 3,000 will have completed programs, within five years the annual intake will be 10,000. By then a residential campus and budget hotel, where hospitality students will be able to practice what we preach, will be in operation. There will also be a mobile training unit bringing programs to communities across the country, and this will commence early 2017. (Media Release)