The Gem and Jewellery Institute (GJI) is the foremost center for vocational training in the Gem and Jewellery sector in Sri Lanka
Based on a recommendation by Peter Raw, a consultant for the UK based World Gold Council in 2000, GJI was established with equity participation from eleven leading private sector jewellery manufacturing exporters and retailers , four state sector institutions and the apex trade association ,with the aim of imparting a high level of education and training to students , and thereby enhance the product quality of Sri Lankan jewellery and expanding its scope in the domestic as well as international markets.
GJI, a non profit organization ,committed to excellence in education ,is one of its kind in the countries educational set up .One of its objectives is to encourage the youth of today to seriously consider the option of a carrier in the gem and jewellery industry.GJI also imparts the necessary knowledge and techniques for professionals who are already in the industry to compete in the global market place. Over the past few years the institute has made substantial progress towards satisfying the industries demand for skilled professionals.
Advanced Jewellery stone setting ,lapidary training ,technical drawning and electroplating are the current courses which are offered by the institute .To promote these courses in the industry, the institute offers free, one day workshops on technical drawing and advanced jewellery stone setting once every three months.The institute is also working on putting together a course practical gem identification to carter for the professionals who are engaged in the industry and who are in need of formal training on the subject and an advanced lapidary course with a view of building the capacity of the small scale lapidarists.
At present located in the heart of Colombo ,the institute is fully equipped with workshop facilities for training.The courses are conducted by a panel of highly talented practitioners with a blend of local experience and foreign education. The institute is governed by a group of 11 professionals representing the industry if Sri Lanka.This active participation of the industry in managing its affairs is looked upon as the biggest strength of the GJI.
Since its inception in 2002 , GJI has been working with two principal donor agencies in realizing its goals, upgrading the sector and serving the country at large.
In 2005 GJI received technical assistance from USAID which funded the competitiveness program (TCP) to sponsor trainners from Texas Institute of Jewellery Technology. From 2005 to 2007 the institute received sponsorship from the European Comission (EU) in capacity building and skills development of the sector with technical assistance from the prestigious university of central England. In 2007 the GJI received technical assistance from the USAID funded TCP for building a lapidary school in the institute.
In February 2008 the institute delivered training to a group of students from Pakistan, making a milestone in the history of Sri Lankan lapidary education.
We believe that the potential of the industry is enormous. We also believe that our youth could be developed to be world class craftsmen and entrepreneurs. To bring these beliefs into fruition ,GJI with the assistance of the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (SLEDB) formulated an assistance scheme for the development of jewellery skills, which is now continued with the National Gem and Jewellery Authority (NGJA). Under this scheme the NGJA provides sponsorships for students enrolling in GJI education programs, which is of immense value to both students and firms in the industry.
Looking back at its short span in history ,GJI has a humble pride of being able to add value to the sector and contribute to its growth.
With a glance at the future ,GJI sees itself as a nationally reputed , regionally recognized full-fledged vocational training institute offering quality assured ,sector specific training in all aspects from designing to Management and Marketing.
This article was reproduced with kind permission from the National Gem and Jewellery Authority.