Since the ending of the civil war in year 2009, the increase in local and foreign investments in infrastructure development projects has created an increase in the demand for skilled workers in the construction industry. There have been various initiatives to develop this skilled workforce by the Ministry of Skills Development and Vocational Training.
Vocational Training Authority (VTA) which functions under the above Ministry was established in 1995. The key intention of establishing the Vocational Training Authority was to reach the rural masses of the country (which comprise 72% of the total population of Sri Lanka) and bestow them with necessary skills that will enable their gainful employment both locally and internationally.
Since its inception, VTA has conducted many initiatives to attract unemployed village youth towards the vocations of the construction industry, but has experienced certain reluctance by young men to venture into vocations like masonry, carpentry and bar-bending trades, due to the traditionally negative perceptions and lack of societal recognition. Recent training programs conducted by VTA in joint collaborations with the recognized private companies have yielded better attraction of village youth towards such programs.
Maga Engineering (Pvt) Ltd., since its inception in 1984, has been an active participant in the construction industry in Sri Lanka. Over the course of the last 30 years, they have risen to be become a model construction company in the country, by continually re-investing in knowledge, skills and capital. This has helped them evolve from working under international contractors to presently executing some of the most prestigious building and infrastructure development projects in Sri Lanka.
In order to meet the current and emerging demand for the skilled workers, VTA has recognized Maga as a potential partner in the development of training programs for the above trade categories and use their brand image and the offered job placements to attract unemployed village youth for the proposed training programs.
After several discussions pertaining to practical implementation, both institutions have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 08 November 2016 at the “Nipunatha Niwasa”. The MoU was signed by Major General Gamini Hettiarachchi, The Chairman & CEO of Vocational Training Authority and Mr. M.G. Kularatne, Chairman & Managing Director of Maga Engineering (Pvt) Ltd.
A total of 240 Mason Technicians and 160 Carpenter Technicians are scheduled to be trained in four training programs within the span of two years at VTA Training Centres. The institutional training will be three months and on the job training will be another three months. The trainees will be paid an attractive training allowance jointly by the both institutions. VTA and Maga will conduct branded promotions to attract the target audience before commencement of each program in mass media and in the regions where the selected VTA centres are located. Successful participants of the training programs will be tested for National Vocation Qualification (NVQ) Level 3 certification and VTA will arrange to award the NVQ certificates through TVEC (Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission). Maga Engineering will offer employment opportunities to the successful participants of the training programs in their project sites.