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A Needs Analysis on the language skills required by the industry from vocational graduates

Authors:

Dilini Lashika Ranasuriya ,

University of Vocational Technology, Ratmalana, LK
About Dilini Lashika
Department of Language Studies, Faculty of Education
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Sreemali M. Herath

The Open University of Sri Lanka, Nawala, LK
About Sreemali M.
Postgraduate Institute of English (PGIE)
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Abstract

This paper presents a segment of a larger Needs Analysis, conducted among the diverse stakeholders involved in Vocational Education (VE) in Sri Lanka, related to the Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) in Mechatronics. The focus of the study is on the perceptions of industry personnel on the kind of English vocational graduates need to use in the workplace. VE plays a significant role in the educational sphere, providing higher educational opportunities to individuals who are less fortunate with regard to formal schooling, and providing employment for skilled youth in many identified vocations. One significant challenge these graduates face at the work place is their poor English language skills, which hinder their chances of entering the world of employment. To ensure that the English language skills provided to prospective graduates of the University of Vocational Technology (Univotec) are adequate and helpful in performing effectively in industry, this study explored the perceptions of industry personnel and identified the shortcomings of the English course designed for vocational graduates. The findings were used to revisit the English language course offered to vocational graduates at Univotec by critically exploring whether they needed English for Specific Purposes (ESP) or English for General Purposes (EGP). In order to ensure that the findings are focused, rich and nuanced, industry personnel from the field of Mechatronics were a part of the focus group discussions. The sample consisted of 15 industry personnel who shared their perceptions on the needs required by vocational graduates at the workplace. The key findings included the vital need of English for effective performance in industry. The study also revealed the importance of knowledge of ESP with a foundation in EGP and also the importance of Technical English which could be used in specific situations.

How to Cite: Ranasuriya, D.L. and Herath, S.M., 2020. A Needs Analysis on the language skills required by the industry from vocational graduates. Sri Lanka Journal of Social Sciences, 43(2), pp.85–98. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljss.v43i2.7932
Published on 31 Dec 2020.
Peer Reviewed

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