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Ministry of Education, ADB, JFPR and WIM connect State, Private and Rural Sector through TVET Conference & Awards 2023

1 April 2023 06:00 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The Skills Sector Development Program (SSDP) of the Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the Japan Fund for a Prosperous and Resilient Asia and the Pacific (JFPR) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), are working together to implement the project titled, “Demonstrating Innovative Approaches for Private Sector and Women’s Empowerment in the TVET Sector in Sri Lanka.” The project aims to empower women economically by providing Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and engaging the private sector by promoting participation in non-traditional and emerging sectors. In partnership with Women in Management (WIM), the Project hosted the TVET Conference and Awards 2023, across 14 districts, to recognize and value young rural female entrepreneurs from across the Island.


The TVET Conference and Awards were held on the 22nd of March 2023 at the Galadari Hotel, Colombo to inspire and motivate the beneficiaries of this project. Industry-experts, private sector leaders, and state sector stakeholders were present. Several key leaders discussed global market trends for employment and entrepreneurship during the conference. Forty-nine TVET youth beneficiaries were recognized at the event, for the progress they have achieved during the past four years under the TVET program.


Commenting on the project and the awards programme, Hon. Susil Premajayantha, Minister of Education said, “TVET Education should be demand driven and TVET training providers must respond to the dynamics of the industry. We are facilitating training providers to be more responsive to the change in the environment to provide more skillful workforce who can fit in with the global workforce.”


Meanwhile, Secretary to the Ministry of Education, Mr. M N Ranasinghe emphasized that, “a TVET Graduate produced by either Government or Private Sector must be highly competent in their field when they enter the workforce. To achieve that, the National Competency Standards (NCSs), Curricular, and the Training methodologies need to be regulated and certified by a unified system.”


Speaking to Daily Mirror, Dr. Sulochana Segera, Chairperson of Women in Management stated, “I am a member of the Women Advisory Committee for this project, the concept of the Conference and Awards was prepared and proposed by WIM to connect the private sector with the public and rural sector. WIM was able to bring 24 private sector male and female leaders to speak at the TVET Conference and the Panel of Judges was proposed by WIM to make it an independent and transparent judging process. She further stated that this event provided the WIM New Generation to understands the state sector role and the state sector welcomed the private sector collaboration positively and WIM as the pioneer of leading change.”


The TVET Conference and Awards were held on the 22nd of March 2023 at the Galadari Hotel, Colombo to inspire and motivate the beneficiaries of this project. Industry-experts, private sector leaders, and state sector stakeholders were present. Several key leaders discussed global market trends for employment and entrepreneurship during the conference. The keynote address was delivered by Kasturil Chelleraja Wilson, Group Managing Director, Hemas Holdings PLC. The First Panel was on ‘Carving tomorrow’s skilling where the future is’ speakers Panel Chair Ms. Darshi Thalapahewa, Head of Group Human Resources and Legal  Hayleys Group, Ms. Deepa Liyanage, Additional Secretary to the Prime Minister, Ms Eranthi Premarathne, Sustainability Strategist,  Mr Hamza Alibhoy, Senior Business Development Manager McLarence Group, Ms Prasadini Perera, Crisis Management, Manager, Sri Lankan Airlines. 


This panel was followed by the second panel, “Youth future with Technopreneurship” and the speakers were Kasun Sigera, International Business Manager, Hemas Holdings PlLC.


Dr. K A Lalithadeera, Director General Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission, Ms. Sachithra Jayasri, Managing Director, Cyber Science International (PVT) Ltd, Mr. Sushena Ranatunga, Director and Co-Founder Creative Software, Ms. Amira Ghaffoor, Founder/CEO, Northwood Consulting PVT Ltd - Digital, AI and IOT and Ramaya Weerakoon Independent Consultant, Multi Sectoral Global Business Development shared her journey of chosen Non Traditional Career. And the final panel was Start up with Entrepreneurship, Ms. Gayani De Alwis, Global Chairperson Women in Logistics and Transport, Udaya De Silva, Program Manager Skill Sector Development Program Ministry of Education, Ms. Nelka Hewage, Managing Director, Neli’s Global Boutique (PVT) Ltd, Ms. Roshni Niranjala Dhananchayan,, Founder CEO Parenthood Global, Mr. Heminda Jayaweera, Director Corporate Affairs SLTC Research University , Co-founder Thuru. 


Forty-nine TVET Youth Beneficiaries were recognized at the event, for the progress they have achieved during the past four years under the TVET program. Eight National Winners emerged and included the following: For Business Startups – Ms. K.A. Wasana Sewwandi (Seha Fashion) - Pattern Designing, Mr. R.M.D.S. Rajapaksha (Travel Insider Sri Lanka) – Tourism, and Mr. R.M.C.R. Rathanayake (RM Shoes) – Leather Products. For Business Expansion – Ms. R.S. Dilma Sagarika Dissanayaka (D Seams Fashion & Academy) – Pattern Designing, Ms. N.D. Nishika Sanjeewani (Last Long Shoe Products) – Leather Products, Ms/Mr. Annams (Annams Architecture Design and Construction) – Construction, Ms. Delsika Sathiyanathan (Luck Architecture Development) – Construction, and Ms. P.R. Lakshila Sandamali Jayathilake (Hi Tech Engineering) – Draftsperson. Twenty-two other Start-ups and nineteen Business Expansion District Winners were also recognized. 


The “Demonstrating Innovative Approaches for Private Sector and Women’s Empowerment in TVET Sector in Sri Lanka” project has made significant accomplishments despite various challenges. The Project has been successful in developing strategies for five Skills Sector Councils (ICT, Tourism, Construction, Manufacturing and Agriculture), guiding them towards sustainability, and supporting the creation of more industry employment for youth, with a focus on females. Additionally, the project has provided entrepreneurship training and financial support to over 1,486 young female entrepreneurs in non-traditional sectors, disbursing over 165 million rupees in grants to 700 SMEs for business start-up and expansion.


Speaking to the Daily Mirror, Additional Secretary, Mrs. Himali W.K. Athaudage emphasized the importance of empowering the workforce through skills development, vocational training, and education. The TVET graduates are more suited to enter the workforce or becoming an entrepreneur, and the Project Manager, Mrs. Rukmani Rathnayake stated that the Asian Development Bank funded project was becoming an eye-opener for the youth to recognize the value of starting their own businesses. 


The Project's beneficiaries have demonstrated outstanding and innovative business approaches and ideas, and most of these SMEs have become sustainable role models, showcasing their success stories as an inspiration for youth in Sri Lanka. 


Young female entrepreneurs have started businesses in a range of sectors, including cement brickmaking, leather shoemaking, architecture and engineering, construction, electrical work, computer hardware, steelwork, automobile and garage services, carpentry, and others. Working together in collaboration, the principals and promoters of the Project look forward to continuing to transform the lives of underprivileged youth in Sri Lanka, and break barriers for Sri Lanka’s female youth. 


The Panel of Judges of the TVET Awards included Prof. (Dr) Ravi Dissanayake, Head of Department of Marketing and Management Studies, University of Kelaniya, Ms. Nadija Tambaih, President John Keells Holdings, Mr. Udaya De Silva, Program Manager, SSDP Ministry of Education, Ms. Sandra De Zoysa, Group Chief Customer Officer, Dialog Axiata PLC, Heminda Jayaweera, Director Corporate Affairs, SLTC Research University, Co-Founder Thuru and  Vice Chair Trace, Aparna Thilakaratne, Chief Law Officer, Sri Lanka Ports Authority, M Shiham Marrikar, Secretary General/CEO National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka and Dr. Sulochana Segera, Founder and Chairperson, Women in Management. 


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