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Bangladesh needs additional skilled workforce to reach $100bn export target.

The Bangladesh government has set a target of $100 billion in export by 2030, but experts say that the industry would need to double its skilled workforce to achieve this target.

At a panel discussion on “Career Opportunity for Women in Bangladesh’s Garment Industry” the experts said the first resource which is required to reach this target is the people, the workers, and the management though there are other areas like utility, power,gas and other things.

According to The International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) assessment training support for women in supervisory roles leads to higher productivity in garment factories. The assessment was conducted across 27 RMG factories in Dhaka and Chattogram and showcased the strong impact of the Gender Equality and Returns (GEAR) program, particularly in improving line efficiency and increasing gender equality.

Unless we start from the bottom up, we won’t reach that goal. The workers have elevated their position with hard work. Entrepreneurs also have ups and downs. They are working hard to uphold the nation and the industry,an expert said. Along with the $100 billion target, a skilled workforce is a must even to sustain the current $50 billion export annually. He also said they have to think about filling this gap from the entry-level through adequate training.

Rubana Huq, vice chancellor of the Asian University of Women (AUW) and former president of the BGMEA, said currently 70 RMG workers are studying at AUW and 36 have graduated. I urge the RMG workers to think it over again, you shouldn’t stop after becoming just a supervisor from an operator, you have the ability to go beyond,” she added.

Responding to a question regarding admission, she said the AUW has multi-level entry options, post-graduation, graduation, pre-graduation, and grade 7-11.

“We have to make sure that the workers are scaled up for the future and we need to give them the proper skills,” she added.

Syeda Afzalun Nessa, head of corporate sustainability, at HSBC Bangladesh, said IFC did great work and no one can’t do anything alone without stepping up together.

“HSBC-AUW School of Apparel which was a dream two years back now is a reality. It was such a brilliant partnership with AUW and I would say the best outcome possible,” she added.

In the keynote presentation, Professor Christopher Woodruff of Development Economics of the University of Oxford said at the supervisory level, trainees are earning 40 percent more than similar workers not selected as trainees, with the potential for further promotions up the management ladder.

Ashani Alles, acting country manager of the IFC Bangladesh, Nepal, and Bhutan, Anis Nugroho, programme manager of Betterwork Bangladesh, Wagner Albuquerque de Almeida, IFC Global Director for Manufacturing’ Agribusiness, and Services, Nabeera Rahman, GEAR Lead, IFC also addressed the event.
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