The Commercial Bank of Ceylon (ComBank) has helped 210 school leavers find lucrative employment after completing Vocational Training Authority (VTA) training programs and obtaining National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) certifications.
The Bank has been a part of the VTA’s initiative to train students who drop out of school after Grade 10 to equip them with skills necessary to thrive in the country’s construction industry since VTA first launched a specialized intervention titled ‘120 Days Training’ in 2015 to address the skills gap in the construction sector.
The program entailed providing students with theoretical and hands-on training in the fields of masonry, carpentry, and plumbing. Trainees that successfully complete their 120-day course are awarded the NVQ Level 3 certificate. The syllabus also includes English language training specific to the construction industry, which would enable students to be eligible for foreign employment.
Commercial Bank supported the initiative between 2015 and 2020 by funding the resource personnel who conducted motivational training at these programs and printing and providing training material pertaining to the course.
Further, in collaboration with the VTA the Bank also helped find employment opportunities for these students at reputed companies including Maga Engineering, Nawaloka Construction, Sripalie Construction, and Access Engineering with an entry level salary of Rs 50,000 upwards. Officials of the VTA and the CSR Unit of Commercial Bank met with the management of these companies on many occasions and requested them to persuade the new recruits to continue their pursuit of NVQ Levels four, five, and six and ultimately earn the seventh and last certification which is a Civil Engineering Degree offered at the University of Vocational Technology, Ratmalana.
Commenting on its role in VTA’s training initiative, Commercial Bank Managing Director S. Renganathan said: “We recognize that the country’s labor force is one of the most important factors in development, irrespective of the sector. A skilled workforce is critically important to the construction industry and by supporting VTA’s program we hope to contribute to the sector’s development while helping build young Sri Lankans find rewarding careers.”
He noted that most of the students belonging to the first batch that completed VTA’s 120 Day Training program are now NVQ Level 5 certified professionals who pursued their training while at work. “It is heartening to note that if one is enthusiastic in this field, he or she can become a qualified and experienced Civil Engineer at the age of 23,” Mr Renganathan added.
Notably, the VTA program is the only option available to those who leave school after Grade 10, to earn a Civil Engineering Degree or an equivalent, without going to university. VTA was established in 1995 with the intent to provide skills for employment, especially to the rural masses of the country which constitutes 72% of the total population, and equip them with skills necessary to find employment opportunities both locally and internationally.