Anuradhapura, [1st September 2023] —Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka His Excellency Paul Stephens, in collaboration with the Tertiary Vocational Education Commission (TVEC), officially launched the District skills development plans supporting tourism development with representatives from the District Secretariats of Anuradhapura and Matale Districts. The skills development plans have been developed by industry and government stakeholders under the leadership of District Government Agents, with technical support from the Australian Aid-funded Skills for Inclusive Growth (S4IG) program. Each district plan provides a comprehensive, tailor-made approach to tourism development through strategic partnerships and priority actions agreed between the District Secretariats, tourism-related government bodies and private enterprises.
Each District Skills Plan is the culmination of extensive research and consultation with tourism industry stakeholders to identify challenges to tourism-related economic development and inclusive growth opportunities. The plans identify actions the private sector, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and actors in the tourism value chain – in partnership with the government and training institutions such as NAITA and VTA – have agreed to take in support of economic growth in the region. As a result, skills gaps can now be addressed and employers can secure the skills necessary to elevate the tourism sector in both Districts. This fosters economic growth and promotes Sri Lanka as a premier tourist destination.
Each skills plan incorporates a range of innovative initiatives, including skills identification programs to ensure enterprises can meet visitor demands and expectations. Key priorities include digital skills training to help business generate higher-quality digital content and engagement of district tourism assets, culinary arts and kitchen operation skills, professional business coaching to support business improvements, skills to improve hotel operations, tour guiding. The aim is to support enterprises increase revenue and create improved employment for local communities, with immediate priority on the tourism and hospitality sector. A key focus of the plan is to create employment opportunities for women and persons with disabilities. The plans are now available through TVEC, the agency responsible for the quality assurance of vocational training in Sri Lanka who are extending this innovative planning approach to other districts in Sri Lanka.
Inaugural industrial culinary training facility at the National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority (NAITA) in Anuradhapura
High Commissioner Stephens also inaugurated the industrial culinary training facility at the National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority (NAITA) in Anuradhapura. With S4IG’s support, the facility will serve as a hub for nurturing aspiring chefs, providing students with industry recognised skills training, qualifications and job placements in hotels and kitchens. This leads to higher income generation potential in hotel kitchens and restaurants, helping meet demand across the tourism sector.
The Australian High Commissioner expressed confidence in the initiatives’ potential for transformative change, saying “Australia’s support to these initiatives continues our commitment to fostering a skilled workforce in the tourism sector. Together, we are laying the foundation for sustainable development and economic growth in Sri Lanka.”
This integrated approach to skills development and economic advancement is poised to reshape the tourism and hospitality sector, addressing critical skills gaps through internationally-recognised training and providing a catalyst for inclusive growth and improved employment opportunities for those aspiring for careers in professional cooking.