(Daily FT : 05 January 2016)
The ceremony for awarding certificates for 100 youth craftsmen, who had successfully completed the six-month long Construction Craftsmen training program, was held on 29 December 2015, at the Auditorium of the Ministry of Skills Development and Vocational Training.
The program was an initiative of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Maga Engineering Ltd., in collaboration with the Ministry of Skills Development and Vocational Training, the National Apprenticeship and Industrial Training Authority (NAITA), and the Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission.
Following an open call from all districts, the participants were screened based on their aptitude, provided with theoretical lectures, and practical on-the-job training sessions over a period of six months. The training program was conducted at two project sites of Maga Engineering – NSBM Green University Town, Homagama, and Fairway City Hotel, Colombo 01, in order to facilitate on-the-job training, under experienced and qualified construction industry experts. During the ceremony the participants were also able to obtain a recognised National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) accredited by the Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission.
Addressing the ceremony, Secretary to the Ministry of Skills Development and Vocational Training, P. Ranepura said, “The Government has embarked on a program of rapid social and economic transformation, and we welcome participations and support extended to us by responsible corporate citizens. This public-private partnership is exemplary of what we can achieve working together. The labour force not only needs theoretical education, but practical skills as well in order to present themselves to the commercial world. I am sure with the skills gained from this training program these youth will make a positive contribution to the nation’s economy
Also addressing the event, ILO Country Director for Sri Lanka and the Maldives Donglin Li highlighted that the training program not only provides decent employment opportunities, but also a sense of respect, social importance, and acceptance to the youth. “We certainly hope to take this sustainable model to other industries in the years to come,” he added.
Commenting on the program, Maga Engineering Chairman and Managing Director M.G. Kularatne said, “We recognised the importance of being part of this initiative at a time when the industry is facing a shortage of skilled masons. As such, the training programs were held at two of our prime construction sites and experienced employees were allocated to mentor the trainees. As a socially responsible employer, we are committed to partner ILO and the Ministry of Skills Development and Vocational Training to produce skilled construction craftsmen and provide them with employment opportunities at our project sites across the island.We hope this landmark training programme will act as a benchmark in the construction industry, and can now be replicated to find a timely solution to a significant issue faced by our sector.”