'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.
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
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.