Australian High Commissioner Bryce Hutchesson was joined by Minister for Skills Development and Vocational Training, the Honorouble Chandima Weerakkody in announcing a new Skills Development Fund (SDF) for Sri Lanka.
The SDF will start with a 600 million rupee grant from the Australian Aid program. It will be managed by the Skills for Inclusive Growth Program, which is a joint initiative of the Sri Lankan and Australian governments. It will finance innovate training packages for the tourism industry in four districts – Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Ampara and Polonnaruwa.
The first training activity will be led by industry associations in the four districts and the Federation of Chambers of Commerce in Sri Lanka. Ground-breaking video-based trilingual training packages will be developed and delivered to an initial group of 1,200 trainees including women, youth and people with disabilities.
This video-based training focuses on the basic skills needed to work effectively in the hospitality industry as a waiter, room attendant, door person, cleaner, housekeeper and porter.
The training content will meet local and international tourism standards, including standards set by ASEAN, the Greater Mekong Sub-Region and Gulf Cooperation Council countries. Industry associations intend to roll-out the training to up to 17,000 members across their business networks.
‘Australia is working closely with the Ministry of Skills Development and Vocational Training and industry to test new approaches to work-based training that remain affordable while meeting international quality standards,’ said Mr Hutchesson.
‘Through innovation, Australia is helping Sri Lanka to develop affordable, long-term training solutions for the tourism industry. We also hope Australia will assist in helping to market and thereby change the mindset of the youth of Sri Lanka to take pride in being a part of a vocational trade.’ Minister Weerakkody added.