Tokyo Cement and NAITA join forces to boost construction sector national skill pool

A far-reaching MOU was signed between Tokyo Cement Company (Lanka) PLC and the National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority (NAITA) with the objective of enhancing professional competence of construction craftsmen, the lifeblood in our national development, by giving them the opportunity to obtain National Vocational Qualification (NVQ).

The MOU will see the two organisations join forces to upgrade skills of masonry craftsmen with professional and industry knowledge by providing them training and certification facilities at Tokyo Cement’s A.Y.S. Gnanam Construction Training Academy in Dambulla, under the expert guidance and supervision of NAITA.

The agreement was entered in to between Dr. Saranga Alahapperuma, Chairman of the National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority, and Dr. Harsha Cabral PC., Chairman of Tokyo Cement Company (Lanka) PLC at a recently held ceremony at the NAITA Head Office in Rajagiriya.

Directors, along with Deputy and Assistant Directors of all Divisions of NAITA, were present at this event, signifying their strategic engagement in driving this agreement to fruition.  Representing Tokyo Cement Group, Christopher Fernando – Director/Consultant, Dr. M.G.M.U. Ismail – Director Research and Development, Eng. Mouly Gunarathna – Consultant Engineer, Eng. Janaka Perera – General Manager, Tokyo Supermix and Dashantha Udawatte – Group Marketing Manager were also present at the event.

NAITA is dynamically involved at district level in every part of the country, by offering training opportunities to encourage youth and professionals to obtain a recognised qualification in a variety of fields of employment. Tokyo Cement Group on the other hand, has been providing a yeoman service to the construction industry by conducting training programmes for masons across the county, since the year 1997.

Furthermore, an ultra-modern training institute was established in Dambulla in 2012, in memory of the Founder Chairman of Tokyo Cement Company, late Deshamanya A.Y.S. Gnanam, which facilitates formal masonry training for school leavers.

The A.Y.S. Gnanam Construction Training Academy, accredited by the Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission, can accommodate 50 residential trainees and comprises of a fully-fledged auditorium, and practical training facilities, inclusive of all necessary tools and building material required to conduct comprehensive training sessions. Annually over 200 masons obtain their professional qualification at the institute and become active participants of nation building, while some of them bring in valuable foreign exchange through skilled employment in other countries.

The two organisations have been close collaborators for many years in facilitating professional training in the field of construction, and with this new understanding will improve the impact of the programme by reaching out to all parts of the country via the NAITA District Office network.

Mouly Gunarathna, Consultant Engineer of Tokyo Cement Group, the driving force behind all training and development activities undertaken by the A.Y.S. Gnanam Construction Training Academy, worked closely with J.C.K. Basnayake, Director General of NAITA, to formalise this longstanding partnership between the two organisations, in order to bring more value to masons who wish to uplift their professional standing with a globally recognised NVQ certification.

Dr. Saranga Alahapperuma, Chairman of NAITA, expressing his views during the MOU signing, highlighted the importance of strategic public-private partnerships such as this to bring in new energy to the efforts of the Government to improve our national skill pool. NAITA is selective on forming partnerships that impact its reputation, consistently built and upheld over the years as a comprehensive training institute, recognised locally and globally for producing professionals with the highest standards of skill and competence.

He further expressed his confidence on this partnership, with Sri Lanka’s largest and only fully locally owned Cement Manufacturer, that will harness the strengths of both organisations, to deliver best in class training opportunities via Tokyo Cement’s Training Academy that will further reiterate NAITA’s commitment and reputation.

In addition to developing masons, Tokyo Cement also conducts island-wide awareness programmes for engineers and technical officers of public and private sectors to enhance their expertise. These seminars are offered free of charge to help share best practices in construction, enhancing professional knowledge on innovative methods in the usage of cement, concrete and cement-based value-added products.

Tokyo Cement has earned its reputation in Sri Lanka’s construction industry as the most trusted supplier of high quality cement and concrete. Delivering superior products for projects that mark Sri Lanka’s growth, the company has cemented its legacy as a partner in nation building. As Sri Lanka’s No.1 supplier of cement and concrete, the company lives up to its repute by actively contributing to harness the potential of well trained, competent and qualified personnel who will uplift the overall professional standard of the local construction industry.