The Skills Development Plan and Employment Strategy for tourism sector in the Eastern Province prepared by Australian funded project, Skills for Inclusive Growth Program was launched on 6 March at the Ministry of Skills Development and Vocational Training. Minister Chandima Weerakkody and Victoria Coakley, Counsellor, Head of Development Cooperation, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) participated as Chief Guests. Representatives from TVEC, VTA and other relevant government partners, and district representatives from Ampara, Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Polonnaruwa were also present. Minister Chandima Weerakkody mentioned that skills development is one of the key areas in workforce development and the Ministry is undertaking this task all over the country. He appreciated the initiatives taken by the Australian government by funding this project to develop the skills in tourism sector in the Eastern Province. Further, he appreciated the selecting of the Eastern Province which has huge potential in the tourism sector and is a lagging region in workforce development due to war. On behalf of Sri Lanka, he thanked the Australian government for taking this great effort in the skills development arena.
Ministry of Skills Development and Vocational Training Secretary P. Ranepura delivering the speech at the launch, mentioned that the initiatives of the Skills Development Plan and Employment Strategy is a timely needed document and very much appreciated implementing mechanism with collaboration of the District Government in the Eastern Province.
Victoria Coakley, Counsellor, Head of Development Cooperation, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) mentioned the Australian Government is very happy to support and implement this Plan in collaboration with the Government of Sri Lanka in a sustainable way. She expressed that this would be a very exciting program which can develop the skills in the tourism sector in the east.TVEC Chairman Professor Rajiva Wijesinhe in his keynote speech specified that there are a number of reports and plans but appreciated this plan which was prepared based-on evidences from the industry.
Professor Sunil Chandrasiri presented the Skills Development Plan and Employment Strategy for Tourism Sector in the Eastern Province to the audience. In his presentation, he presented the key highlights of the tourism sector in the Eastern Province and existing skills gap and skills shortage in the province. Further, in his presentation, he specified the approach of skills development in the tourism sector and mechanism of implementing the plan.David Ablett, Team Leader, Skills for Inclusive Growth Program conducted the vote of thanks speech.