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Monday March 4th, 2024

Breaking the Mould: How DIMO is Elevating Vocational Education in Sri Lanka

Dilrukshi Kurukulasuriya – Executive Director and CHRO of DIMO

DIMO Academy is making waves in the world of vocational education in Sri Lanka, with a steadfast focus on critical areas such as automobile mechatronics and plant engineering. This transformative initiative, underpinned by the German dual training methodology and German syllabi, places a strong emphasis on hands-on training supported by cutting-edge technology. The result? graduates possess not only high desirability among local and international industry leaders but also demonstrate formidable problem-solving skills that distinguish them. To ensure unwavering quality and attain international recognition, DIMO Academy has intricately woven itself into the fabric of the German vocational system says Dilrukshi Kurukulasuriya, the Executive Director and CHRO of DIMO who is also in charge of DIMO Academy the educational arm of DIMO.

The academy’s curriculum, teaching methods, and equipment mirror Germany’s renowned standards and have received accreditation from the esteemed German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (AHK). What’s more, trainers undergo annual AHK accreditation, firmly positioning DIMO Academy as one of the pioneering A-grade German training academies operating outside of Germany.

Elevating Vocational Education

“One of the most compelling facets of DIMO Academy’s mission is its dedication to reshaping the perception of vocational education in Sri Lanka,” Dilrukshi notes, adding, “historically, vocational qualifications have been overshadowed by their university counterparts, partly due to the scarcity of visible success stories within the vocational realm. However, DIMO Academy has emerged as a beacon of change, elevating the social status of vocational qualifications and radically enhancing employability prospects. The academy’s holistic approach encompasses English and German language education, along with seamless workplace integration, resulting in graduates who are not only well-rounded but also primed for success in their chosen fields”.

“We strictly adhere to the same syllabus used in Germany for programmes such as Automobile Mechatronics and Plant Engineering, Sanitary, Heating, and Air Conditioning (PESHA). This unique system provides students with hands-on training at our state–of–the–art facilities, leveraging cutting-edge technologies. It’s important to note that we don’t merely focus on theoretical knowledge; instead, we emphasize practicality with our learner-centric approach. Our students learn by actively solving real-world problems, equipping them with exceptional competence that is highly sought after by the industry,” Dilrukshi says.

While these graduates play a crucial role in elevating the skill and knowledge levels of their peers upon entering the workforce, it’s a matter of regret that many of these highly skilled individuals do not remain in the local job market for long. They are swiftly recruited by global employers as soon as they complete their courses at DIMO Academy. This phenomenon is a testament to the quality of education imparted by DIMO but presents a challenge in retaining these talents for the local workforce.

DIMO Academy’s commitment to closely aligning itself with the German vocational system ensures its standards remain second to none. This commitment is reflected in every facet of the academy’s operations, from curriculum development to teaching methodologies and the equipment used. These aspects are meticulously crafted to align with Germany’s exacting standards, with only minor customizations approved by the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (AHK).

What sets DIMO Academy apart is its unwavering commitment to quality, epitomized by its trainers who undergo annual training and accreditation by AHK. This practice firmly establishes DIMO Academy as one of the very first A-grade German training academies operating outside of Germany.

Beyond Traditional

While the core focus of DIMO Academy is vocational studies, the academy has ventured beyond the traditional realms of vocational education. It has differentiated its offerings to include subjects such as HR management, Marketing, Finance, and local labour law. This well-rounded approach ensures that graduates are not just proficient in their respective fields but also possess versatile skills that enable them to explore entrepreneurial endeavours or pursue higher education.

Furthermore, DIMO Academy proudly holds the status of a privately owned TVEC-registered institute in Sri Lanka. According to national standards, the academy’s courses conform to the National Vocational Qualification Level 5 (NVQ – 5), resulting in students completing these courses receiving two certificates. This dual certification not only adds value to the student’s educational journey but also makes them highly attractive to prospective employers.

In a commendable effort to empower women in fields that have traditionally been male-dominated, DIMO Academy actively encourages their participation. This initiative has translated into practical actions, including the formation of an exclusive female student batch and the integration of women into training courses in non-conventional fields. These initiatives provide women with invaluable hands-on experience, employment opportunities, and exposure to a diverse professional landscape, all aimed at fostering competence and diversity in these fields.

DIMO’s commitment to promoting STEM education for women is evident in its proactive efforts to consistently encourage girls to join courses offered by DIMO Academy in the technological sphere. Today, female students are actively pursuing automobile mechatronics courses at DIMO Academy. These efforts underscore DIMO’s dedication to fostering gender diversity and inclusivity in STEM education, providing opportunities for women to excel in traditionally male-dominated fields.

The academy’s social responsibility initiative to provide free vocational education in automobile mechatronics since its inception has yielded remarkable results, with employability and skill development soaring to new heights. DIMO Academy has been offering a free 2-year Automobile Mechatronics Certificate Programme since 1990 as a testament to its commitment towards sustainability and vocational education. This programme, designed to Mercedes-Benz standards and aligned with NVQ level criteria, has provided invaluable education to countless individuals. It underlines DIMO’s dedication to imparting knowledge and skills that empower individuals to thrive in their careers. “These graduates have embarked on international journeys, venturing into entrepreneurship or climbing the corporate ladder within reputed corporates,” Dilrukshi says.

DIMO Academy extends its reach further by offering international higher education opportunities through German freshman courses by representing FH Aachen University in Sri Lanka and the Maldives. “DIMO has strategically extended its presence in higher education by becoming the official representative of FH Aachen University, a prestigious state university in Germany. This strategic move has paved the way for the academy to reach even further, including the Maldives. Through this partnership, the DIMO Academy aims to provide students from Sri Lanka and the Maldives with an affordable higher education opportunity to fuel their dreams and aspirations,” Dilrukshi explains.

Established in 1990, DIMO Academy has consistently excelled in fulfilling its mission of realizing the dreams of youth and providing them with the necessary skills and opportunities. In 2010, the academy expanded its footprint by opening its first branch in Jaffna. DIMO Academy’s graduates have consistently stood out in their respective industries, with many achieving international success. These alumni have embarked on global careers, with opportunities taking them to Europe, the Middle East, Australia, and New Zealand. Some have ventured into entrepreneurship, while others have joined DIMO and other business establishments, rising to senior managerial positions within the company. DIMO Academy, therefore, plays a pivotal role in nurturing the ambitions of young individuals, equipping them with the necessary skills and opportunities to succeed on the global stage.