Innovative Skills Initiatives

Enhancing Public Private Linkages for Workforce Development

 Professional Cookery Model 

The Professional Cookery model promotes integration between industry, private training providers and government training authorities. It offers relevant, applied and real-world training to a range of diverse participants across the country. Training providers will offer industry-relevant and industry-linked training, recognised by the Chef’s Guild of Lanka, Sri Lanka’s leading industry body for professional chefs. This will lead participants to better career and income-generation opportunities and build a professional chef cohort in the tourism and hospitality industry. Objective:

  • Establish sustainable Public Private Linkages (PPL) and an inclusive model for creating and upskilling professional cookery skills at selected training institutes and centres in Sri Lanka.
  • Contribute to the promotion of selected districts as destinations for Culinary Arts through the implementation of the Professional Cookery model with Public Private Linkages.
  • Implement an industry-relevant training and career pathway for food preparation and culinary skills.

S4IG has partnered with the Chef’s Guild of Lanka (CGL), Technical and Vocational Education Commission (TVEC), public and private training providers to deliver the Professional Cookery model. Under this model, a revised Professional Cookery Course curriculum has been developed by CGL, with S4IG’s technical assistance, which can be rolled out by training providers. This improved cookery training integrates industry expertise into the delivery of the training. Chefs from the CGL will become registered trainers and assessors with TVEC to support government training providers to deliver professional cookery training. Government training agency cookery trainers will also be trained or upskilled by CGL industry chefs to deliver improved training courses at different NVQ levels, ensuring they are relevant to employer needs. Seven training centres, including public and private providers, will run the course during the model pilot phase. Trainees will be recognised by CGL through certificates and membership to the professional body and will also receive recognition through the Government regulated training system. In this new system existing chefs will be able to undergo refresher training and be upskilled through Recognition of Prior Learning, further professionalising the industry. The Professional Cookery course raises the quality of cooking skills in Sri Lanka, thus ensuring equivalency with international standards and enabling membership to the Chef Guild Lanka – a member of the World Association of Chefs’ Societies (World chefs).

In supporting ‘Supreme chef Youth Edition’, CGL will support the promotion of cookery and culinary skills and showcase career opportunities in the tourism and hospitality industry. Supreme Chef is a modern approach to attracting young talent and creativity into the industry. The program showcases how vocational education can support career development and support school leavers to use vocational training as a gateway to attractive professions in the tourism and hospitality sector – professional cooking, production of media content, production of the competition, event organisation and related digital or ‘gig’ economy employment opportunities.

Supreme Chef shines a light on the career paths available to chefs in Sri Lanka and overseas through professionalising skills. It also shows how women, persons with disabilities, and all ethnic groups, religions and minorities can find gainful employment, higher incomes, and opportunity in the sector.S4IG will facilitate capacity building and provide expert support to the NYSC, NAITA and VTA media teams and trainees, giving them tools to continue with future productions which can promote other areas of vocational training to continue to attract interest to work in other emerging sectors in Sri Lanka.

S4IG supports Government training centres with relevant facilities and tools and prepares specifications to ensure training providers have industry-standard kitchens for quality and relevant skills development. Selected training centres will be upgraded by S4IG and the Ministry of Skills Development, Vocational Education, Research & Innovations to enhance the facilities available for training participants seeking professional cookery skills for higher income earning opportunities. These training centres will work cooperatively with local employers and outsource training and assessment services to CGL to ensure quality and industry relevance is maintained.

What is innovative about the model?

The tourism and hospitality industry has been brought into the development of the training courses to improve delivery and ensure relevant and reliable assessment of skills. S4IG is working with public and private training providers, as well as the training agencies under the Ministry of Skills and the training regulatory authority (TVEC), to facilitate change across the tourism skills development system. We aim to ensure that the quality and relevance of vocational training is improved, which fosters better employment outcomes for trainees and supports the industry to improve the quality of its services through workforce development. This model promotes a highly practical, industry-based and industry-relevant approach. Bringing industry and training providers together greatly enhances the quality of training and the likelihood that participants will leave training with skills that will lead to them finding a job.

 Foundational Hospitality Skills Model

This Model aims to transform how training is delivered and intrinsically link it to industry needs. We have developed a Foundational Hospitality Skills Multitasker Course, which covers basic hospitality skills to an international standard, while recognising the need for hospitality industry staff to be multi-skilled. The National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority (NAITA), Sri Lanka’s largest training provider, has launched the program online. They will develop a cohort of Master Trainers and Certified Industry Trainers to enable this course to be delivered and assessed in enterprises across Sri Lanka. Owners and managers can offer the Foundational Hospitality Skills Multitasker Course on-the-job, allowing for basic training to be delivered while employees are working (and being paid). It can encompass both training new recruits as well as upskilling existing staff. Certified Industry Trainers can tailor the training to the business’s specific needs by selecting from the 84 short video-based modules that form part of the course. Assessment can be done in the workplace itself. The course is currently being accredited to an NVQ Level. S4IG will partner with NAITA, FCCISL, TVEC and SLTDA, as well as public and private training providers to scale out this model.

What is innovative about the model?

This model allows the hospitality industry to take the lead in recruiting and training their employees in the workplace. It allows both job seekers and those already employed to ‘learn and earn’ in the workplace. Accreditation allows workers to access and secure a career pathway in the industry. Successful completion of this training allows trainees/workers to access higher level training and specialisations that can lead towards improved employment and higher income levels. Job seekers can start their hospitality careers in workplace training-styled ‘modern apprenticeships’. NAITA will enable owners and managers to be trained as ‘certified industry trainers’. Owners and managers can then teach according to their workplace requirements and standards. They can use learning materials, video modules and the comprehensive online learning platform created by NAITA to support new workers to learn. Existing staff can use those same learning materials to demonstrate competence in the workplace and have their skills recognised. With the aid of the online learning platform, employees progress through self-paced learning challenges, complete assessment tasks, demonstrate competencies in the workplace and receive formal certification/recognition of their skills.This method uses a ‘look, listen and learn’ approach that allows employers to participate in workforce development and ensure their business values, culture, and performance requirements are embedded in the training. This model removes the burden from trainees of travelling long distances to Colombo for training or assessment, supports trainees who face challenges to get leave from employers to sit assessment, or lose income while engaging in training activities or incur unnecessary costs while developing their skills. Assessment requirements are also transparent, enabling trainees to show via a portfolio of evidence that they have achieved each competency to industry standard and satisfactorily address the learning requirements of the training course

 Skills for Destination Development

S4IG is supporting the GoSL to create a ‘Skills for Destination Development Model’ which enhances tourism visitor flow through an employee skills development system. A coordinated national and regional approach is advocated by key stakeholders such as district and regional planners; tourism agencies/associations/chambers; industry and employers; as well as training providers, job placement and employment services.

Using an applied learning model, S4IG supports the Tourism Promotion Bureau and Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) to convene a Strategic Reference Group. The Strategic Reference Group will bring together key policymakers, influencers and practitioners, from national and regional tourism promotion and skills development agencies, to work collaboratively on destination development. The Strategic Reference Group will consult with regional government and tourism stakeholders to seek district and regional level approval for key activities. Members of the Group will be diverse, spanning across genders, ages, religions, and ethnicities. Linked to this practical work will be the professional development of Strategic Reference Group members through a qualification in Destination Development, facilitated through an Australian university which can be replicated in Sri Lanka by relevant training institutions.

The key areas for the model include:

  • Establish the Strategic Reference Group of key decision-makers from tourism promotion and skills development agencies, to showcase regional tourism at a national level.
  • Create Tourism Product Calendars (events, festivals, experiences etc) in regions; and identification of skills required to deliver the agreed calendar. This will include skills such as event management and organisation, content creation, photography, videography, social media, marketing, tour guiding and facilitation.
  • Develop short courses to leverage untapped skills in the region and to support local business to pivot their business to engage in the tourism and hospitality sector.

What is innovative about the model?

The model brings together tourism promotion and skills development agencies in an applied learning model to strengthen destination development, including coordination with district stakeholders. This holistic model draws on lessons from Phase 1 and will continue trialling this approach in Phase 2 in a highly practical manner, through the design of annual Tourism Product Calendars that underpin skills planning and stimulate employment. The model identifies tourism assets and competitive advantages which can be leveraged in the visitor economy to encourage increased visitor spending. Skilled participants can be engaged with destination development initiatives. This is particularly successful to engage women who are looking for local employment opportunities or have an interest in ‘gig’ economy or self-employment, which matches with tourism industry opportunities. This model also contributes to strengthening the TVEC system by offering diverse, new, and high-value skills associated with destination development, which are increasingly in demand with younger people looking for work in creative industries and ICT enabled work. Using realistic and relevant skills mapping and labour forecasting tools, this model envisions better local skills and creation of a local talent pool to deliver selected events. It aims for high service standards through visitor-attractive products, developed by relevant stakeholders and supported by high quality skills, which could generate improved revenues and income levels amongst MSMEs. This is the central feature of a regional destination development model. The digital platforms ‘Gateway to East’ and ‘Gateway to North Central’ are to be further road-tested, supporting recovery efforts and generating inclusive growth outcomes. Through stakeholder cooperation and engagement, replication of the Model of Skills for Destination Development by relevant stakeholders could be strengthened. Replication will support tourism recovery and generate improvements in regions which have previously not benefitted significantly from the visitor economy.

 Coaching Skills for Business Improvement

The Coaching model is designed to improve the performance of tourism Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) through direct, one-to-one business coaching, delivered by licenced coaches. Coaching is a professional relationship that helps businesses move from where they are to where they want to be. It is about working with owners and managers to reach their business goals. While the specifics of each coaching journey will be as unique as the business itself, coaching typically involves setting goals, creating an action plan to achieve those goals and navigating challenges that arise along the way.

In Phase 1 S4IG tested the coaching methodology in businesses across the tourism value chain. In Phase 2 S4IG is working with Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry Sri Lanka (FCCISL), government and private training providers to refine and pilot the coaching model and support its availability as a business service for MSMEs across Sri Lanka. The model focuses on the development of a nation-wide network of coaches, to be supported by three key components:

  • A high-quality Professional Business Coaching Course, available to diverse participants and delivered by key training providers.
  • A licencing body to monitor the quality of coaches, managed by FCCISL
  • A licencing body to monitor the quality of coaches, managed by FCCISL

How will this Model be Implemented?

The training involves 15 learning modules, blended to include structured workplace experience. FCCISL will monitor the quality of coaching through a licencing mechanism that monitors coaching inputs and results. Annual renewal of licences will depend on compliance with coaching standards and MSME client feedback.

FCCISL may refer coaches to clients, or coaches can field requests directly from MSMEs to provide their coaching services. The MSMEs will pay for these services. Coaching provides an opportunity for businesses to learn and plan for success, to identify new customer bases, and to adapt services to meet emerging requirements. Coaching promotes the benefits of working with a diverse workforce and of reaching diverse customer markets through tailored services. It also allows for the adoption of more inclusive business practices to improve resilience in changing business conditions.

What is Innovative about this Model?

  • This is the first effort to establish and nationalise a business coaching system in Sri Lanka. While specific to the tourism industry, the model has the potential to support and influence other sectors, with implications for improved MSME performance throughout the Sri Lankan economy, thereby driving prosperity for all.
  • The model brings together industry and training providers to deliver a quality-assured coaching service for business improvement. Taking an inclusive approach will increase opportunities for people from marginalised segments of the population to participate in and benefit from the economy, while correspondingly businesses will benefit from increased inclusion and diversity.
  • Coaching aims to identify gaps across the business which can then be addressed and improved. Gaps could include; planning, the need to improve workforce skills and service delivery, better marketing products and services, increased linkages with other businesses to improve community awareness, or the use of local products and services to capture a greater share of tourist spending. Effective coaching can drive business improvement, strengthening supply and value chains and linking tourism businesses to attract more visitors. Improved business networks can better leverage regional assets, attractions, events, festivals and experiences


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