Capability building is an integral part of the Sri Lanka Association for Software and Services Companies (SLASSCOM) agenda in the journey towards its vision of growing the IT and BPO industry of Sri Lanka to generate revenue of USD 5 billion in exports creating 200,000 highly skilled workforce and facilitating 1,000 startups by 2025.
Identifying the soft skills gap in the existing pool of IT graduates, the chamber joined hands with the Sri Lanka Association of Non-State Higher Education Institutes (SLANSHEI) to raise awareness of the need to instill soft skills among IT, students.
Sri Lanka is blessed with a promising talent pool of IT graduates, and to increase their employability, it is essential that we help them improve their soft skills and make them holistic professionals,” shares SLASSCOM Chairman Channa Manoharan.
To commence the co-working program with local universities and higher education service providers to develop students’ soft skills, SLASSCOM and SLANSHEI conducted a webinar – Essential soft skills for IT graduates required by the industry.
Renowned academic Emeritus Professor Colin Nisantha Peiris from the Faculty of Humanities & Sciences in the School Of Natural Sciences at Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) kick-started the webinar thanking both SLASSCOM and SLANSHEI for initiating this program to support IT, undergraduates.
COO of 99x, SLASSCOM Board Lead for the HR Forum Shehani Seneviratne spoke of the need to improve the quantity and quality of graduates as a crucial element of the realization of SLASSCOM’s Vision 2025. “SLASSCOM is committed to focus on the quality and work readiness of graduates coming out of universities and we will work with universities to help enhance graduates’ employability with technical skills, soft skills, and professional skills” she added.
This was followed by the CEO of hSenid Business Solutions and PeoplesHR, and SLASSCOM Board Lead for Entrepreneurship & Innovation Forum Sampath Jayasundara sharing the findings of the Employability (soft) Skills Survey 2019 conducted by PWC and the Rejected CV Analysis of fresh graduates 2020 survey.
“The industry is expecting good graduates to be employed at entry-level, but they are unable to recruit full requirement of their recruitment needs due to inadequate skills,” he averred, highlighting that organizations were most satisfied by graduate’s capabilities in conceptual knowledge in technical areas from top-ranked universities and least satisfied in communication skills. “There is a need to improve graduate capabilities in analyzing and interpreting data, willingness to learn, professionalism, adaptability, and flexibility,” he noted. Emphasizing the importance of holistic education, he also mentioned that undergraduates should have technical and theoretical knowledge to have the adaptability of switching from one technology to another, given the pace at which new technologies are being invented.
Director Technology Consulting at PwC Sri Lanka and member of the SLASSCOM General Council Haresh Perera shared the SLASSCOM Professional Skills Framework with the participants, highlighting five skill pillars: Personal Growth, Communication and Relationships, Industry Focus, Creativity and Innovation, Fit for the Future, and Technical skills. “It’s important to have this framework in place,” he said and shared that the university-level skill development project, which commenced in March 2021, was focused on its objective of defining and developing a single framework that will fulfill the skills gaps and support industry stakeholders to have a competent workforce. He also explained how the success of the SLASSCOM Professional Skills Framework was driven by its ecosystem comprising industry organizations, academia, and students.
The webinar concluded with Executive Director, Technology Consulting Leader and CIO at PwC Sri Lanka, and SLASSCOM Board Lead for the Capacity Forum Nishan Mendis speaking of the University Cooperation Agreement. “SLASSCOM has been engaging with public and private higher education institutes for a long time, but the signing of the University Cooperation Agreement will enable both SLASSCOM and universities to engage with each other in a meaningful and focused manner,” he explained.
The webinar conducted via Zoom engaged academics of IT and computing disciplines.