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Govet

Opening of the SLGTI center of excellence for training in Northern Sri Lanka

Opening speech of the Sri Lanka President in the VET Institut in Sri Lanka
© Sujeewa de Silva

The SLGTI will function as a centre of excellence for technical and vocational education and training for Sri Lankan youth from all across the country. It will help to prepare them for a successful transition into the labour market and gain meaningful employment.

The Sri Lanka-German Training Institute (SLGTI) was opened in the presence of Sri Lankan President His Excellency Maithripala Sirisena, the Sri Lankan Minister of Skills Development and Vocational Training Honourable Mahinda Samarasinghe and the German Ambassador His Excellency Dr. Jürgen Morhard in Kilinochchi on 18th July 2016. The SLGTI will function as a centre of excellence for technical and vocational education and training for Sri Lankan youth from all across the country. It will help to prepare them for a successful transition into the labour market and gain meaningful employment. The opening of the training facility is has been facilitated by the GIZ-Vocational Training in the North and East of Sri Lanka (VTN) project since 2012. This opening marks the hallmark of this project that has also been supporting satellite centres in other locations in the North and East in preparing students to qualify and enter the SLGTI.

Many aspiring students were present at this momentous occasion. Among them was Kithuja who has opted for an apprenticeship as a trainee in the ICT sector. Her special passion is the web - and unlike many of her age she does not dream of leaving their home and migrating overseas. Instead, she wants to make a difference where she was born and raised - in Kilinochchi, in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. The North of Sri Lanka is one of the regions of the country that were hardest hit by the 26-year civil war, and the Kilinochchi district especially had been isolated from the rest of the country during the war. Although since the end of the war in 2009 a lot has changed for the better, the professional and economic prospects, especially for young people are still limited.

Kithuja is one of a total of 1,700 young men and women who have been trained under the GIZ project "Vocational training in the North and east of Sri Lanka" (VTN project). The project works to provide a labour market oriented vocational training, particularly in areas affected by the civil war where young people have been deprived of opportunities for skills training and gainful employment. Since 2012 the project has been supporting several centres to train youth not only in preparation for employment but also for entering the SLGTI where they will be afforded an opportunity to upgrade their skills to the National Vocational Qualifications standards from levels 4 to 6.

participiants are standing bevor the the center of excellence in vocational education and training in Sri Lanka
© Sujeewa de Silva

Kithuja, like many of her 1000 co-applicants completed her training at one of the 14 training centres that are supported by GIZ VTN. The project is also co-financed by the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) leveraging resources of both agencies for the betterment of SLGTI. "After I graduated at SLGTI I want to be a teacher at a vocational school in my hometown," she says. Because she believes that they can provide important skills in a professional manner that the younger people from the region will appreciate. The SLGTI will prepare them for a better future.

This opening of the Sri Lanka-German Training Institute (SLGTI) is a highlight of the VTN project. The construction of the training facility was done through the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), which also provided much of the state of the art equipment at the centre. The running of the SLGTI will be funded by the GIZ through the VTN project during the initial phase, including the provision of a German Principal. The training of trainers and the strengthening of relations with the private sector will be undertaken by the project to support the SLGTI.

The SLGTI will offer training courses for 600 students at a given time, in the fields of electrical and electronics, food processing, construction, automotive mechanics and mechanical technology. The working language is English; hence the centre is open for all Sri Lankans. For the very first courses that will commence, over 1000 potential trainees have applied to fill the 350 training places available during the first year. The composition of the applicants indicate that SLGTI is not only a centre of excellence in training, but also a meeting place for Sri Lankans from different ethnic and religious backgrounds across all regions. SLGTI will become a hub for Social integration – with students from diverse religious and ethnic divides living and studying together.