SHMA Hospitality Skills and Development Program holds its inaugural graduation ceremony

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The Skills for Sustainable Growth (SSG) program, a partnership initiated and funded by the Swiss government, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and A. Baur & Co. Pvt. Ltd (Baurs), is making strides in bridging the skills gap, grooming and preparing the youth to take on the numerous opportunities in the hospitality and tourism sector of Sri Lanka. 

On 04th June, sixty students from two of its learning centres went onto graduate, successfully completing a 9-month training which consists of a 4-month in-classroom learning phase and a 5-month paid internship. 

The SSG project is based on the Swiss Vocational Skills Development (VSD) curriculum, proven to contribute significantly to the hospitality sector and the overall economy. The project will take a lead in bridging the skills gap, instill quality education standards, encourage female participation, and make Sri Lanka not just a most sought-after talent destination for hospitality but also one of the best tourist spots.

The awarding ceremony took place at the Hotel Grand Kandyan, Kandy, with the presence of Her Excellency Siri Walt, Ambassador of Switzerland to Sri Lanka and the Maldives and Doris Manor, First Secretary (Migration) at the Embassy of Switzerland to Sri Lanka, Baurs CEO & Managing Director Rolf Blaser, National Youth Corps (NYC) Director Brig. Sujeewa Rathnayake along with NYC staff members, General Managers of partnering hotels, SHMA staff members and facilitators.

The SSG program commenced its first two centres in Matale and Kandy in August last year, followed by another in Nuwara Eliya in December, covering all three districts of the central province. The project successfully enrolled a total of 206 students in 2023, comprising 152 male students and 54 female students, achieving 26% of the female inclusion rate across all three learning centres. These centres are within NYC premises, where NYC has partnered with SHMA as a learning provider. 

The SSG program is facilitated by Baurs owned Swiss Hotel Management Academy (SHMA), an education institute that facilitates high-class education at international standards, producing highly qualified hoteliers. It is also licensed to deliver the VET (Vocational Education Training) by EHL Professional Diploma program, a pioneer in hospitality education since 1893, with a global network of over 25,000 alumni representing more than 120 nationalities. 

Based on the final performance evaluation of the 4-month in classroom learning at the Naula and Kandy centres, 73 students made it to paid internships which included accommodations, meals, and allowances, provided by 13 partnering hotels registered with the Kandy Hotel Association and the Cultural Triangle Hotel Association. Out of them, 60 successfully went onto complete the program, demonstrating an 82 pct sustain rate in securing job opportunities at prestigious hotels.

The project is aimed at aligning and deploying a Swiss Vocational Skills Development (VSD) curriculum that will contribute significantly to NYC, the hospitality sector and the overall economy. The diverse and experienced professionals at SHMA will facilitate the programme at NYC in producing competent and employable youth, whilst NYC continues to support the SSG project.

This year, the SSG program commenced in Weerawila learning centre in March, with second intakes in Kandy, N’eliya and Naula centres. Further, SSG will go onto open their new centres in Bulathsinhala in Kalutara district and Katunayake in Gampaha district, Valaichchenai in Batticaloa district, Kuchchaveli in Trincomalee district and Ampara in July and August 2024. By the year-end, ten learning centres will be established to skill 2,240 youths by end 2025.

Student enrolments are now underway at the Kandy centre, followed by centres at Bulathsinhala, Katunayake, Rajagiriya, Kuchchaveli, Valaichchena in July, and Naula, Nuwara Eliya and Weerawila in August. Those who have completed their Ordinary Level with a C pass in English, with a passion for hospitality, are eligible and welcome to register in any of the shared learning centres. For more information, email or visit

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