Vocational training in the north and east of Sri Lanka

Project description

Title: Vocational training in the north and east of Sri Lanka (VTN)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Sri Lanka
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Skills Development & Vocational Training
Overall term: 2015 to 2019


Sri Lankan workers’ technical and social skills are insufficient for the increasingly competitive regional and global markets. Essentially unresponsive to industry’s needs, technical and vocational education and training (TVET) facilities need to position themselves more innovatively and flexibly. As it now stands, the TVET system is generally out of sync with industry’s needs and employment potential. With institutional capacity bottlenecks at every level, the project has undertaken to redress the situation by improving technical training. At the same time, it is also fostering reconciliation between the factions involved in the civil war that plagued the country for 26 years.


Labour market-oriented technical and vocational education and training has improved the employability of young people in the north and east of Sri Lanka.


The project supports 21 vocational training centres, with a view to improving TVET quality in Sri Lanka and increasing the number of traineeships. These efforts are backed by a move to establish strong links with private sector companies that help people transition from vocational training to the world of work. At the heart of the network is the Sri Lanka-German Training Institute (SLGTI) which offers training courses in the fields of automotive engineering, food processing, information and communications technology (ICT), electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and construction. Accommodation is provided for students from the country’s more remote regions.

The project is also active in Sri Lanka’s Northern, Eastern, North Central and Western Provinces. Here, activities range from coaching trainers and managers through to modernising and equipping the centres – the overall aim being to update local training standards. The project regards cooperation with the private sector as crucial and thus supports measures designed to improve training in the participating enterprises. Another focus is on improving the situation of people in Sri Lanka’s rural regions. Here, informal training and technical support boost income-generating measures that target both men and women, giving participants the chance to acquire important skills they can use to produce food or make simple products that are in demand on local markets.


  • Since the project began, a total of 7,108 students have enrolled at the centres, some 40 per cent of them women. 74 per cent of the trainees come from disadvantaged population groups
  • Across the supported centres, a total of 139 different training courses are offered corresponding to levels 3, 4, 5 and 6 of the national vocational qualification framework (NVQF)
  • 39 cooperating companies have confirmed that the trainees’ technical and social skills meet their requirements and expectations
  • 53 managers and 231 teachers have undergone further training at their place of work
  • 100 people have participated in new informal income-generating training measures; 77 of them are women from disadvantaged population groups in the north and east of Sri Lanka
  • 15 people from the outskirts of the Wilpattu National Park have attended new informal income-generating training inputs
  • Ten years on after the end of civil war, young people continue to play a key role in Sri Lanka’s reconciliation process. The project therefore initiates various sporting and cultural events designed to bring together young people from different ethnic, religious and social backgrounds, thus fostering greater mutual trust and understanding