The Sri Lankan development centre of US-based software company Virtusa has signed an agreement with the country's Vocational Training Authority (VTA) to help the educational institution by sharing Virtusa's IT training curriculum with the VTA as well as allowing VTA course participants to visit Virtusa's facilities. The overall aim of being to fast track VTA students into entering the high demand field of quality assurance (software testing), locally.
According to a statement by local IT-BPO body SLASSCOM, the VTA will offer this Virtusa vetted course to 3,000 students at 270 training institutes island-wide. And it follows a recent MOU signed between SLASSCOM and the VTA to build IT capacity amongst VTA students, the largest body of students in the country with current enrollment reported at 25,000.
Further, speaking at the agreement signing, SLASSCOM Chairman Sujiva Dewaraja indicated that creating the necessary IT workforce capacity was SLASSCOM's biggest challenge, with branding the local IT industry and making itself known being the other big challenges. He also reiterated that the local IT workforce had to more than double, from its current 35,000 to 80,000, by 2015 to achieve its target of US$ 1 billion in exports. And that the current 4,000 IT graduates entering the workforce yearly fell short of the needs of the IT industry.
He also stated that to address this SLASSCOM had a number of programmes in the works, and highlighted a recent agreement signed with the Ministry of Higher Education whereby a conversion programme would be offered to university arts students to convert to IT field.
Also pointed out, export earnings from the local IT-BPO industry were estimated to be US$ 390 million for 2010.
Additionally noted in SLASSCOM's statement; "The partnership between VTA and SLASSCOM was a result of a mutual agreement between the two parties aligning industry standards and curricular which will result in a talent pool equipped with not only in depth industry knowledge but also with an enhanced soft skills focus preparing human resource to the knowledge economy."