ComBank adopts Vocational Training as another CSR project | Sunday Observer

ComBank adopts Vocational Training as another CSR project

 Students of two schools in the pilot program being trained by university students
Students of two schools in the pilot program being trained by university students

The Commercial Bank of Ceylon announced the adoption of vocational training for school leavers as the next community cause it will champion on a national scale, in a logical progression of its commitment to computer literacy and online education.

Recognising the need to provide viable employment options to the many thousands of students who do not progress to higher education each year, as well as the growing dearth of trained artisans, the Bank will work with the Ministry of Education and private sector partners to advocate the dignity of skilled labour and provide opportunities for training and placement.

In pursuance, the Bank’s CSR Trust has launched a pilot vocational training programme in six schools in collaboration with the Department of Technical Education and Training (DTET). The Bank has established Career Guidance Units in the six schools to advise and guide students in grades ten and eleven and also to students in the advanced level technical stream to understand the importance and benefits of acquiring a vocational skill.

This is an effort not only to widen career opportunities available for students who do not succeed at the GCE Ordinary or Advanced level examinations, but also to help mitigate the crippling labour shortage prevalent in the job market especially in the construction industry, despite unemployment rates in the country standing at 4.5 percent at the close of 2016, the Bank said.

Commercial Bank’s Managing Director Jegan Durairatnam said “Increasingly, students that do not qualify for tertiary or higher education seem to be taking up jobs in the unskilled labour market or selecting vocations that are below their potential. This situation does not help them or the country, especially in the context of macro level productivity.”

He said many young Sri Lankans choose low-paying office jobs over better remunerated opportunities in masonry, carpentry, plumbing and welding.

“We will try to change this through this vocational training program, and help create a body of skilled workers ready to take on the construction industry which is in dire need of skilled construction technicians,” Durairatnam said.

The Ministry of Education has granted Commercial Bank permission to set up Career Guidance Units in the six schools chosen for the pilot programme and students interested in vocational training will be taken on visits to technical colleges where they can learn about study programmes and potential employment opportunities upon completion.

The responsibility of these schools, along with the teachers in charge of the Career Guidance Units, is primarily to guide students who have middle to low potential of being successful at GCE Ordinary Levels into vocational training.

The schools chosen for the pilot programme are Divulankadawala Maha Vidyalaya, Hingurakgoda; Siddhartha M.V. Anuradhapura; Vidyadarshi Maha Vidyalaya, Nochchiyagama; C W W Kannangara Central College – Mathugama, D S Senanayake Central College, Kurunegala; and Parakum Maha Vidyalaya, Vavuniya.

The Bank expects to set up similar Career Guidance Units at more schools in the next three to five years.

Students from these schools will be introduced to vocational training programmes conducted at affiliated Technical Colleges and Colleges of Technology in Anuradhapura, Kalutara, Kurunegala, Polonnaruwa and Vavuniya.