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World Skills Competition :

Shot in the arm for SL's vocational field

The Vocational Training Authority (VTA) is tying up with World Skills International (WSI) to participate in the World Skills Competition that provides a platform for comparison of world class competency standards in the industrial sector, VTA chairman Dhammika Hewapathirana said.

Participating in a discussion held with the Heads of WSI and City and Guilds Organization at the Youth Affairs and Skills Development Ministry recently, Hewapathirana said that World Skills International is a unique international membership organization with a mission to raise the status and standards of vocational skills and training worldwide.

"The main activity of this is organizing the world skills competition in a membership country. City and Guilds is supporting the government and World Skills International towards this tie-up that is intended to develop skill competencies in the vocational field in Sri Lanka," he said.

"Improving the relevance and quality of vocational education and training, supporting and preparing youths for the local and international labour market and reducing youth unemployment are key focus areas in Sri Lanka. The restoration of peace in Sri Lanka after 25 years of civil strife, has given rise to rapid development in a free market economy and provides many challenges to modernize vocational education that imparts trade skills in demand, as well as to change the attitude of the public towards vocational education itself," Hewapathirana said.

"Instilling the pride in trade skills is a key element that needs to be enhanced to ensure that young people are attracted to this vital sector. This is a big challenge for a small country which will have exponential growth especially in construction, hospitality and engineering fields in the coming years," the chairman said.

World Skills president Simon Bartley and City and Guilds director general Chris Jones handed over the document and discussed the way forward for the partnership.

The VTA will organize a skills championship in Sri Lanka. The winner will have an opportunity to represent Sri Lanka at the World Skills Summit to be held in soon.

"World Skills International has members in 56 countries. Participation in the skills competitions organized by WSI makes it possible to evaluate the competitiveness of the current vocational education system in Sri Lanka on a global scale and provides impulses for improving the curriculum and delivery methods of vocational training. Successful participation of young Sri Lankans in World Skills competitions will make vocational training more attractive and increases the motivation of VTA students to work harder at leaning their chosen profession," he said.

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