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Hundreds of freshers will get government sponsored training for appointment in the billion dollar apparel industry, officials said Wednesday.
"We have asked the export promotion bureau (EPB) to prepare a project proposal with the training syllabus so that we can train fresh hands for appointment in apparel industry," a senior official of the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) told the FE.
He said: "Presently we are providing training to workers and mid level management personnel who are already in job. But there is no such arrangement for the fresh hands who want to join the trade."
Apparel is the highest foreign currency earning source of Bangladesh with nearly $19 billion annual export. The sector needs workers to continue its growth, the official added.
Presently some 3.5 million people are working in the apparel industry of which 80 per cent are women. Factory owners claim that they lack more than 25 per cent workers and are in acute shortage of mid level managerial people.
According to the sector leaders, at present nearly a million workers are needed to makeup the shortage. But people do not want to employ them in the sector due to absence of patronisation at the preliminary stage.
MoC officials said presently they are running a training session through the EPB with the help of BGMEA and BKMEA. Nearly one thousand and five hundred workers and managerial people have so far received training.
The government has provided Tk 200 million as seed money which is kept with different commercial banks. The training session is being carried out from its profit.
The government had allocated the fund as part of preparation to train the apparel sector workers following the phasing out of Multi-Fibre Arrangement (MFA) in January 2005.
The MFA phase out was considered to be a catastrophe for the apparel industry of the least developed countries which lifted quota system for mandatory import by developed countries.
Vice President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Faruque Hassan told the FE Wednesday that worker shortage was hindering the apparel sector's growth.
Welcoming the government initiative he said the BGMEA is also training the entry level workers through opening various training centres across the country.
"Apart from collaborating with the government we have also engaged the buyers to train the fresh hands so that the worker shortage could be overcome," he said.
Mr Hassan, however, said the initiatives will be able to cover the shortage to some extent but is not enough to meet the entire needs. "We are ready to collaborate with any initiatives from any quarter which can help us fill up the gap."