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Sunday, 3 February 2013





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'Skills training vital to leverage new opportunities'

Chairman, Commercial Bank of Ceylon, Dinesh Weerakkody speaking at the 54th National Conference of the Finance Houses Associations under the theme 'Skills Challenges in the 4k era and beyond' said that the recent unveiling of the road map for 2013 targeting a growth plan that aims to achieve $4,000 per capita income by 2016 offers a huge economic opportunity for Sri Lanka to reform our education and training with emphasis on technological, scientific, and industrial skills.

Dinesh Weerakkody

He said we need to focus our education and training system primarily to deliver the skills to leverage the new opportunities that would become available to the country. However, he said Sri Lanka would need to move up the ladder of skills sophistication very fast and that would require us to overnight strengthen our general education and a training system. Otherwise it is virtually impossible to leverage MNCs for skills formation beyond the immediate needs of the firm.

He said that the Asian Century is a Sri Lankan opportunity and if we are to benefit from the Asian Century we need to have a standard level of skills in the work force on which to build our economy.

As an industry he pointed out, LFCs will need to pay closer attention to attracting and retaining employees with the right skills to manage these new opportunities.

This will help to drive higher levels of employee commitment and that will in turn help to improve employee retention rates, improve customer satisfaction and positively impact business results. Weerakkodysaid that a big factor in growth is technology, therefore LFCs must leverage business technology to drive innovation and productivity. He said that technology in the workplace allows businesses to expand quickly and efficiently. Companies can now target a wider customer base and grow it to higher levels. He also observed that Smartphones were now mainstream. You can now pay for products using your smart phone. Technology companies and banks have now even more ambitious plans to turn the smart phone into a portable payment system and now even the big companies that were refusing to recognise social media are getting more social, to engage Gen Y customers.

He said, those businesses that loathe to embrace social media will realise that they will have to get into that space or be left behind for good.

He stressed for technology to power economic growth, education and workforce skills will have to keep pace with technological development.

Weerakkody in conclusion said, "In the next five years the Internet would radically change the way we do business, socialise and share information, therefore policy makers and businesses must recognise and embrace the enormous opportunity the Internet can create for economic growth and prosperity.




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