Ibrahim Khalil Jewel: When skill shortage is seen as a major limitation to steady growth of Bangladesh’s apparel industry, in-house training for skill development of garment employees and workers has become a solution, which brings huge benefit to this sector.

Companies are gaining from the “in-house training” while the employees and workers are also earning more. In a recent article, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has also observed this. Visiting many garment factories, particularly the training centres with a high-level delegation comprising ILO, SIDA, CEBAI, H&M and Bangladesh Technical Education Board (BTEB) officials, THE APPAREL NEWS team also observed the benefit of in-house training in garment factories.
The training centres were established with the aim of train up the newcomers to the RMG industry and make them skilled quality workers. Its main goal was to meet up the workers demand in the RMG factories and reducing unemployment among the able workforce in the society. These training centres, which are known
as Enterprise Based Training (EBT) centres, are running by the financial support of factory owners but getting technical, policy and trainers support from ILO, SIDA, CEBAI, H&M and BTEB.
On 04 October, 2017 the high profile delegation visited two RMG training centers in Narayanganj— one at Russel Garments (Osman Tower, 56/1 S.M. Maleh Road, Narayanganj) and another at country’s one of the biggest factories- Knit Concern Group (62, Water Works Road, Godnail, Narayanganj).
The delegation comprises of: Ms Helene Kastensson, Department Controller at HUMASIA, SIDA HQ; Ms Magdalena Skarp, Head of Administration, Embassy of Sweden, Dhaka; Ms Michelle Bouchard, Coordinator, Partnership & Innovation, SIDA HQ; Ms Marconia Guimaraes Berg, Wife of Head of Migration, Embassy of Sweden, Dhaka; Mr Niklas Skogsjo, Programme Specialist, Environment & Climate Change Unit; Mr Stéphane Guittet, Third Secretary, Embassy of Sweden, Dhaka; Majeda Haq, Programme Specialist, Inclusive Economic Growth Unit; SM Shahjahan, Director, BTEB; Fakir Mohammad Abdul Mannan, Asst. Director, Planning & Development, DTE, Brig Gen Aftab Uddin Ahmad (Retd), CEO, CEBAI; Muhammad Omar Faruque Akhund, Manager-Business Development, CEBAI; Ms Khadija Khondker, Program Officer, Country Office, ILO, Bangladesh; SM Jahangir Alam, Consultant, ILO.
All the members of the delegation highly praised the in-house training centres of the above mentioned two garment factories observing the total activities. They also opined that it would create positive image of Bangladesh’s readymade garment industry among the apparel buyer countries.
The high officials visited the floors, inspected the machines and instruments that are being used in giving training; they talked to the trainees and regular workers who have got job after completing training here.
Knit Concern Group: With a mission of providing very high quality knit apparel to the international market, Knit Concern Group emerged in 1990 and has started manufacturing & exporting since 1992.
Having all vertical setups as a full knit project situated in a single 18 acre premise, it is the country’s one of the few elite private sector business groups, which not only serves the international buyers with the height of professionalism but also contributes in terms of Wealth, Welfare and Eco-friendliness to its homeland. One of the top taxpayers in the country, Knit Concern is now employing about 17,000 people.
In short, top class human resources, cutting-edge technology, production capacity, efficiency and unique organizational dexterity to quickly respond to the changes in design and style in the international apparel markets, have steadily brought forward Knit Concern as a new frontline player in the global apparel market.
“The factory spends a significant amount to manage the training centre, but the overall benefit is much higher than the management cost,” said Nasim Ahmed, Director of Knit Concern Group. The Knit Concern is one of the 10 companies which have launched in-house Enterprise Based Training (EBT) centres with the support from the ILO Centre of Excellence.
Also supported by Sweden and multinational clothing-retailer H&M, the activities of the EBT centres are being carried out in collaboration with Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and the Ministry of Education.
Knit Concern, a major producer of high-quality knit apparel and lingerie, has been running the EBT centre since 2015. The centre is well-equipped with a practice floor, including 120 machines and a classroom.
Six full-time trainers, trained under the ILO Centre of Excellence project, work at the centre to provide training. 120 workers are passing out getting training in every two months. After getting training they become regular employees of the company. So far 1,234 trainees received training here and got job getting satisfactory salary and other benefits.
Trainer In-Charge of Knit Concern training centre Mr. Ram Pada Saha told to this correspondent that during the training period every trainee gets Tk 5,678 as training allowances as like salary of an operator, plus attendance bonus Tk 800 per month as well as transport facility at free of cost.
Shilpi Rani of Gobindaganj, Gaibandha; Deepali Rani Das from Sylhet, Mosammat Sharmin of Nazirpur of Pirojpur district, who are getting training at the centre, also echoed to Ram Pada Saha. They told that getting information from their relatives (who are already working here) they joined the centre and very hopeful to be self-dependent in life.
Nasim Ahmed said that the EBT centre has helped increase production, eased pressure on the floor and utility services and ensured a healthy atmosphere besides making the skilled workers capable of earning more.
Tania Akhter, an overlock sewing machine operator in Knit Concern, said that she completed a 60-day training course at the EBT centre that made her a skilled worker within a short period of time.
Joynal Abedin Mollah, President of Knit Concern Group, warmly welcomed the delegation team and took part in a discussion with them regarding the performance of his training centre.
He also briefed the delegation about his company’s present strength in world apparel market presenting related data. Jahangir Hossain Mollah, Managing Director, KC Apparels Ltd; Md. Kamruzzaman Khan Zaman, Director, Operation, Knit Concern Ltd also were present among others.
The team also visited the Day Care Centre, modern Medical Centre and Family Planning Centre for the employees of the factories.
Russel Garments: Russel Garments, a concern of Osman Group of Industries, started its business in 1984. Now it is one of the models of clean & systematic garment manufacturers & exporters in Bangladesh.
They are committed to developing a sustainable business relationship with valued customers by offering quality service and superior products. Keeping this philosophy in their mind, they produce the right products at the right time ensuring quality standard.
The entire operations of Osman Group are being carried out from its own premises each being situated at different locations with nine concerns in the garments.
The Chairman & Managing Director of Osman Group Mr. Akkas Uddin Mollah (CIP) welcomed the delegation team. Among others, Bikash Chandra Saha, Director; Mostafa Hossain, General Manager; Md Jashim Uddin, General Manager, were present and briefed the visiting team.
Total employees of Russel Garments are now at 10,000 of which 20% of them are Male and 80% are Female. Date of Joining with EBT is 30 May, 2014. Training centre space is 3,000 sft. 20 trainees are passing out in every batch. More than 305 trainees got training so far from this training centre and got job receiving all facilities according to labour law of the country and the company rules.
Evaluating the visits, Brig. Gen Aftab Uddin Ahmad (Rtd), CEO of CEBAI, told this correspondent: “I think the visits today were excellent. Our donor partner SIDA, representatives from ILO, officials from Sweden embassy, officials from BTEB, DTE were present and they became very pleased observing what the RMG industry is doing for the training of the workers.”