228 craftspersons trained by Maga Engineering in 11 construction industry related occupations were awarded NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) certificates at an award ceremony held at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute at the end of 2019.
Secretary of the Ministry of Skills Development and Vocational Training Mr. K. D. N. Ranjith Asoka was the Chief Guest at the occasion and Ms. Manjula Amarasinghe, Acting Country Director of ADB, was the Guest of Honour. Among the dignitaries were representatives from the Ministry of Industry & Commerce, Skill Sector Development Programme (SSDP), Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission (TVEC), and the Asian Development Bank.
Addressing the gathering, Chairman and Managing Director of Maga Engineering, Mr. M. G. Kularatne said “Today the construction industry is facing an acute skilled manpower shortage and this is a great step in the right direction to resolve that issue. MAGA believes it is essential to foster workforce skills whilst ensuring training matches the demands of the industry. In turn, this will allow workers and businesses to adopt new technologies and prepare the industry for meaningful change.” He thanked the Ministry of Industry & Commerce and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for their unwavering support as implementing and funding partners of this programme.
Chief Guest and Secretary to the Ministry Mr. K. D. N. Ranjith Asoka reiterated those remarks: “As Sri Lanka is looking to accelerate economic growth, this is a need of the hour, and the Ministry aims to expand this programme to meet the demands of the industry. Moreover, as someone who knew Maga almost from inception, it is a pleasure to witness the company’s growth and contribution to the construction sector and youth development.”
MAGA is a registered Training Institute with the TVEC, under the Ministry of Skill Development and Vocational Training. The newly trained craftsmen received certifications for NVQ levels 2, 3, and 4 in 11 occupations: Construction Craftsman (Masonry), Bar Bender, Wood Craftsman (Building), Tiler, Scaffolder, Road Construction Craftsman, Road Construction Site Equipment Operator, Welder, Laboratory Assistant, Occupational Health and Safety Officer, and Wood Craftsman (Building).
Sharing his joy and sense of accomplishment, a recipient of the NVQ certificate, Mr. Michael Niroshan, who completed NVQ level 3 in ‘Construction Craftsman: Masonry’, said “I followed the course at Maga’s site at Dadella Beach Hotel, Galle., and as a result, today I have got the opportunity to become a masonry subcontractor – an entrepreneur leading a team of 48 masons and able to earn a good income”.
During her speech, Guest of Honour and Acting Country Director of ADB, Ms. Manjula Amarasinghe described how the ELTP programme was initiated six years ago, resulting in over 6200 persons trained and currently working in almost all sectors of the economy. Reiterating ADB’s commitment to support such programmes in the future, Ms. Amarasinghe noted the need to make the programme more inclusive, attract more female candidates, and work toward bridging the gender gap.
The training programme is designed with the prime objective of catering to the evolving needs of the industry, while bridging the skills and knowledge gaps of construction craftspersons. To serve this purpose, Maga Engineering has formulated a customised training curriculum, prioritising on-the-job training sessions and offering trainees both theoretical and practical knowledge. Participants are screened based on their aptitude and competence and selected candidates are trained at Maga’s construction projects under the guidance of experienced and qualified resource personnel.
Maga Engineering has trained over 500 skilled craftspersons over the last four years under several youth development programs such as the above.