Twenty seven youth from Sri Lanka’s Southern province successfully completed their first section of hotel industry training by the Aitken Spence School of Hospitality. Commemorating the event, an award ceremony was held on the 13th of February 2015 for the handing of certificates. The training for the students were financially supported by CARE International while all resource personnel and logistical support for this endeavor was provided by Heritance Ahungalla.
As part of a joint initiative between CARE International and Aitken Spence School of Hospitality; the three-month training programme was aimed at enhancing employment opportunities for underprivileged youth. The course module designed as per ILO Certified Standards and incorporated by the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management is registered with the Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission. The training will be followed with industry placement at the Aitken Spence Group of Hotels, thereby giving students the opportunity to gain first-hand industry experience.
Student K.L. Dimuthu Madushan received the award for the ‘Most Outstanding Student’ of the batch. Dimuthu also bagged the award for the ‘Best Student – Food and Beverage Services (Theory)’ while D.S.S.K Silva obtained the award for the ‘Best Student – Food and Beverage Services (practical)’ category. S. A. Nilushika Udayangini received the award for ‘English Language’.
To mark the occasion for the handing of certificates, Mr. Jeevaka Weerakone Assistant Vice President, Human Resources /Training & Development of Aitken Spence Hotel Managements, Mr. Refhan Razeen Executive General Manager- Heritance Ahungalla, Mr. Gregory Brady Country Director, CARE Sri Lanka, Ms. Lahari de Alwis CARE SL Private Sector Manager, Ms. Shivani Fernandez CARE SL Senior Programme Coordinator, Sujeewa Jayamanne Country Representative Diageo -Faculty and Resource Personnel were present together with the staff from both Aitken Spence Hotel Managements and Heritance Ahungalla alongside with the students’ parents.
Elaborating on the benefits of the training; Mr. Jeevaka Weerakone, stated, “An opportunity has been provided for a new generation of people. The hospitality industry is important for the future of Sri Lanka and is one of the largest contributing employers to the economy. This sector provides opportunities globally and these students have now received the foundation for it. If one works with honesty, commitment, discipline together with a genuine desire to improve one’s self, then anything is achievable”.
Since its inception in 2007, a total of four hundred youth have benefited from the Aitken Spence School of Hospitality programme; with this being the 10th batch of students to successfully complete it. The initiative also placed special priority on encouraging female youth, in hope to boost and promote further female employ ability in the tourism sector.