Friday, June 2, 2023

TVET Conference & Awards 2023 – Promoting Rural Female Entrepreneurship Across Sri Lanka

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 “Demonstrating Innovative Approaches for Private Sector and Women’s Empowerment in the TVET Sector in Sri Lanka” project. 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, 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 & Awards were held on the 22nd 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. A number of key leaders discussed global market trends for employment and entrepreneurship during the conference. 49 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, the 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 in order to provide more skilful workforce who can fit in with the world of works.”

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

8 National Winners emerged as follows: 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. 22 other Start-ups and 19 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.

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.

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