SLITHM to identify alternative institutions for professional training | Daily News

SLITHM to identify alternative institutions for professional training

Dilip de Silva
Dilip de Silva

Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (SLITHM), the national premier institute for human resource development of tourism and hospitality industry in Sri Lanka is in the process of identifying alternative institutions to provide professional training to its current students after a series of bomb attacks that hit luxury hotels in Colombo last month.

SLITHM which provides the manpower for the various sectors in the hospitality trade is currently facing a huge challenge when it comes to train its students for top and middle management positions in the industry after the Easter Sunday carnage that hit several high end hotels in Colombo.

SLITHM was established in 1964 by the Sri Lankan government with the support of International Labour Organization (ILO) and several other international donor agencies to train young men and women in the field of Hospitality and Travel Industry, supplemented with various diploma courses at craft level.

And, currently SLITHM has set up provincial schools in Kurunagala, Kandy, Ratnapura, Bandarawela, Anuradhapura, Koggala, Passikudha and Jaffna in order to facilitate Students Island wide.

“We find it difficult to identify training opportunities for our students at both local and international hotel chains in Sri Lanka after these tragic attacks. Now our biggest challenge is to find suitable training places for our students as there are no takers now. As a result of that, we’re looking at other options such as hospital catering segment.

Also, well known private hospitals such as Asiri, Durdans, and Nawaloka operate hospital catering, housekeeping and other related facilities in a sound manner,” SLITHM Chairman Dilip de Silva told Daily News Finance.

“At the moment, SLITHM is in discussions with Durdans hospital and SriLankan Catering to see whether we can send some of our students, even in small numbers to these organizations for professional training.” he said.

In addition, SLITHM is looking at opportunities to tie up with overseas travel and employment agencies in order to link our trainee students with international hotel chains to help them work as interns or pursue an exciting job overseas.

“Earlier we were not promoting students to pursue jobs overseas; because Sri Lankan tourism industry is currently facing a shortage of professional personnel for top and middle management positions. Also, SLITHM mandate was to train students for the local industry. However, in this backdrop, we have been compelled to look at other options in order to find suitable institutions that can provide training to our current students.” he said.

“We’re also looking at possibilities to tie up with international hotel chains such as Shangri-La and Hilton to see whether they could provide any opportunities for our students to work as interns in their regional hotels in various international markets.

As the chairman of SLITHM, my main priority is to elevate the current status of SLITM as a degree awarding institution. Plans are also underway to offer a bachelor degree in Hospitality Management in the near future.

To this end, SLITHM is in discussions with several international universities and training organizations to ink a partnership to introduce this program in Sri Lanka.

Furthermore, SLITHM is currently working with the University Of Vocational Technology (UNIVOTEC) to obtain the national accreditation for its bachelor degree program in Hospitality Management.

“We’re looking at a long- term view. While we’re dealing with the current situation; we also look at where our schools will be in the next 20-30 years time.” he said.

In this regard, SLITHM is already in the process of acquiring land in strategic locations such as Kalpitiya and Trincomalee through the Urban Development Authority and the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority.

Our greatest challenge is to deal with the current situation and ensure the safety and security of some 2,000 students and provide training to them both at the industry level as well as at all the training institutes which come under the management of SLITHM, he noted.

“Also, we at SLITHM are deeply saddened to note that we lost two of our current students at one of the city hotels in Colombo which came under attacks on Easter Sunday. As such we will not take any security risks of our students either when they at work or at class room training sessions in the future, he stressed. 

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