By Lahiru Pothmulla
The Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Sri Lanka (AHK Sri Lanka) launched the first AHK-VET Council in Colombo yesterday with the objective of contributing to strengthen the demand-and industry-driven Vocational Education and Training (VET) in Sri Lanka.
Chief Delegate of AHK Sri Lanka, Andreas Hergenrother said it was vital to ensure that training provided through vocational training centres is really meeting the needs of the companies that are engaged in the training.
“Individuals must be trained according to the needs and the philosophy of institutions with the guarantee of employment opportunities ultimately. That is why we have set up this platform, VET Council, where industry representatives, vocational training authorities and our vocational training institutes of Sri Lanka meet in a permanent way to give each of our input and to ensure that the training provided will be really industry driven and according to the needs,” he told Daily Mirror.
He said that many countries including Sri Lanka did not have a positive attitude towards vocational training until recently. He said parents are reluctant to send their children to vocational training but the situation was totally different in Germany.
“Vocational training is something very well recognised in Germany and if you are in automobile mechatronics, you have a promising future. The private sector in Germany invests annually € 27 billion in vocational training and the German government only spent € 3 billion. The contract is between the company and the trainee and not between the trainee and the institute. The company is paying the trainee a small salary to cover basic costs. After the training, they are permanently employed afterwards. Here in Sri Lanka, sometimes trainees get internship opportunities but most of the times they will not be employed by the company permanently,” Mr. Hergenrother said.
The VET Council was launched with the collaboration of representatives of different business sectors and VET authorities in presence of the German Ambassador Jorn Rohde.
Currently, AHK Sri Lanka certifies the Automobile Mechatronics 3-years course offered by DIMO Academy for Technical Skills (DATS).
For the future it is planned to extend these certifying activities which guarantee that German standards are kept in regard to quality assurance, transparency and competitiveness. Founding members of the VET Council are DIMO, Wurth Lanka, Mercmarine, CINEC, Chamber of Construction Industry, Fairway Waste Management, Leema Creations Pvt Ltd Interiors, Tudawe Brothers as well as TVEC and VTA. For the future, VET Council sessions are planned on a regular basis. The Council counts on the active involvement and engagement of its members, since it is an industry-driven approach as Ms. Lucy Schulze, Manager Public Projects & Vocational Training pointed out.