The Ministry of Skills Development and Vocational Training last week said that a Skills Sector Development Programme assisted by the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank is now being implemented with a plan to establish four councils in four industry sectors. The project, which will assist one council per year from 2015 to 2018, will include the Construction, Tourism ICT and Manufacturing and Engineering Services Industries.

“These four industry sectors were identified considering growth potential in post war period and criticality of skills for sectoral development. Here engineering services sector was selected as it provides technology base for development of all sectors including agricultural sector.   Therefore, it was decided to pilot the ISSCs in these four industry sectors,” Program Reform Specialist B. H. S. Suraweera said.

According to Suraweera, the Construction Industry Skills Councils has already been established whilst ICT and Manufacturing & Engineering Services industry councils are about to complete their formation.  Tourism Industry Skills Council is in advanced stage of establishment. “At this stage, Industry Sector Skills Councils are established as limited liability companies and they will be funded by the Government for about 5 years.  It is expected that ISSCs will be self-sustainable within 5 years.   With the successful operation of these ISSCs, it is expected to establish ISSCs for other industry Sectors such as Automobile, Textile etc as well.

Let us hope that vibrant operation of Industry Sector Skills Councils will minimize the skills gaps thus meeting the skills needs of the industry while helping youth to realize their employment aspirations,” Suraweera said.