Employability skills of maintenance technicians in container ports: Implications for maritime technical and vocational education and training


  • Harsha Fernando Department of Management of Technology, University of Moratuwa, Moratuwa 10400, Sri Lanka
  • Vathsala Wickramasinghe Department of Management of Technology, University of Moratuwa, Moratuwa 10400, Sri Lanka




Container ports, Employability skills, Maritime education and training, Technical and vocational education and training


The study investigated the employability skills of maintenance technicians engaged in container ports in Sri Lanka. The specific objectives were to investigate 1) employability skill gaps between technicians’ evaluations of the level of current possession and the expected level to be possessed for the current job tasks, 2) employability skill gaps between technicians’ evaluations of the expected level of skills for current job tasks and immediate superiors’ evaluation of the importance of the same for current tasks, and 3) maintenance technicians’ exposure to skill development strategies after joining the respective container port terminals. The study was conducted in the two main container ports of Sri Lanka- Colombo and Hambantota. Responses were pooled from two independent sample groups- maintenance technicians and their immediate superiors. Maintenance technicians had graduated from technical and vocational education and training institutions with levels 3 or 4 National Vocational Qualification. Findings identified employability skill preferences of maintenance technicians and their immediate superiors, which led to possible skill gaps. The findings highlight the importance of TVET institutions identifying the preferences of business sectors, they should be prepared to impart employer-preferred skills to their trainees and to bridge any gaps in expectations. This will lead employees to develop realistic expectations of employer preferences. Hence, the findings of the study have implications for technical and vocational education and training institutions, students enrolled in these institutions, employees engaged in container ports, and their employers.


  • Employability skills are vital to be employed and to remain employed
  • Skill gaps have consequences for job seekers, employers, and training institutes
  • This study investigated employability skills of technicians in container ports


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How to Cite

Fernando, H., & Wickramasinghe, V. (2024). Employability skills of maintenance technicians in container ports: Implications for maritime technical and vocational education and training. Maritime Technology and Research, 6(4), 269909. https://doi.org/10.33175/mtr.2024.269909