Sri Lanka: Skills for Sustainable Growth

The current crisis in Sri Lanka is strongly affecting the country’s population. Switzerland and Sri Lanka have a migration partnership. Therefore, Switzerland has a strong interest in supporting skills development in the country. This project will train the Sri Lankan Vocational Training Authority to deliver an international standard curriculum in the hospitality sector to its students, combined with practical learning in hotels. Hence, the students will have better access to employment opportunities.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Sri Lanka
Vocational training
Vocational training
Labour migration
01.11.2022 - 31.12.2025
CHF  790’000
Background The hospitality and tourism sector continues to be very relevant in Sri Lanka (12% of GDP in 2019). The ongoing political and economic crisis as well as Covid-19 and the aftermaths of the 2019 terrorist attacks have negatively impacted the sector. It is however assumed that these numbers will increase again with the stabilisation of the situation in the country. There is a big gap for skilled workers in the hospitality sector, the quality of trainings conducted by the Vocational Training Authority does not align with internatinoal standards and not enough workers are trained. Hotels are therefore interested in employing men and women who are equipped with the necessary skill set. Due to the current situation, young people are continuing to migrate and seek employment abroad. This project is targeting the skill development in the tourism sector in Sri Lanka. If men and women choose nevertheless to migrate after having received the training, they will be able to use these skills also abroad and sending remittances back to Sri Lanka.
Objectives Young men and women, including migrants, access better and more decent work opportunities in the tourism and hospitality sector in Sri Lanka through standardized skills development programme.
Target groups


-    10 Vocational Training Authority’s centers (VTA) with its facilitators

-    2240 unskilled or semi-skilled young men and women (18-25), including migrants (aspiring migrants, returnees and internal migrants)


Private sector (hotels)  

Medium-term outcomes

Outcome 1:    The national tourism and hospitality skills qualifications system is enhanced - in line with international standards - providing improved training for young men and women, including migrants. 

Outcome 2:    Skills of young men and women, including migrants, are uplifted in the tourism and hospitality sector to secure sustainable employment opportunities.


Expected results:  

Through this proposed project, a focused, standardized vocational skills training combined with real-time practical learning will provide the necessary hard and soft skills for both men and women working in the hospitality and tourism sector.  

A Memorandum of Understanding with the Vocational Training Authority of Sri Lanka will be signed to integrate the upgraded curriculum. 10 VTA centres will benefit from the implementation of the internationally recognized new curriculum and capacitate the facilitators with improved training skills over a 3 year period. The project will train 2240 students in total (40% women targeted). The trained men and women will find new or better employment after the completion of the programme. The project will monitor the enrolment of men and women, including migrants, including internal migrants and returnees.

Results from previous phases:  

A pilot batch in 2020 with 19 students yielded some first positive results:

-    all students participating in this first batch are still directly employed in the tourism and hospitality industry;

-    the hands-on learning methodology was positively received and 37% of the participants were women.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Project partners Contract partner
Private sector
  • Foreign private sector South/East

Other partners

-    Contribution to Baurs (A. Baur & Co. (Pvt) Ltd), implementation through its subsidiary company

-    (Swiss Hotel Management Academy Pvt Ltd (SHMA)


Coordination with other projects and actors

Synergies will be created with SDC’s programmes in the region, e.g. the Sri Lanka Labour Migration Programme (SLMP).

This project is of revelance to the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration to support the migration partnership with Sri Lanka. It is financed through the flexible funds from the Asia Division.

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    790’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    280’000
Project phases Phase 1 01.11.2022 - 31.12.2025   (Current phase)