Selected Economic Sectors and Beneficiaries 

The programme promoted quality skills training models within the Ready Made Garments (RMG) and Construction sectors that stimulated further investment in training by employers, private training providers and trainees.

Readymade Garment (RMG) Sector

There are over 5,500 RMG factories in Bangladesh, and this number is rising with an average annual growth rate of 12% while RMG sector contributes 18% to GDP growth. 40% (4.4 million) of the industrial or 6% of the total workforce is directly employed in the RMG sector and 70% of workers are women. Typically, RMG factories are segmented into two subsectors: 1) knitwear, which also includes sweaters and 2) woven. Both subsectors are fully export oriented. 

In the RMG sector, Sudokkho focused on partnerships with international buyers, brands and retailers and also with groups of companies. Factories were nominated by these partners to participate in the programme. 

i. Firstly, partnering through international brands, retailers and buyers provided access to a network of Bangladeshi factories and increased the scope to scale up and replicate training model. International buyers were interested in increasing their strategic business partnerships with supplier factories. In addition, they were interested in supporting initiatives that focused on social compliance issues and skills development, which improved factories’ overall business performance. Factories that supplied international buyers, retailers and brands needed to enhance the efficiency of their manufacturing processes in order to achieve the speed that was necessary to meet tight lead times. Upskilling and multiskilling of their workforce had a direct impact on improving their production floor performance.

ii. Secondly, the export-oriented knitwear and woven textiles industry were the leading subsectors in RMG that created entry-level employment opportunities, especially for women. Since the target group of Sudokkho were people from the poorer strata of society and had a focus on women, this was a strategic fit.

Construction Sector

The construction industry is a labor-intensive industry. The industry provides many jobs for skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers both in the formal and informal sectors. The job seekers from rural areas migrating to cities often find the construction work as an easy option for their urban livelihoods. Housing and Real Estate sector (building construction) is a key part of the construction sector. Most of the labour force engaged in the construction sector is basically engaged in the housing and building construction activities.

The two factors which made the construction sector interesting for Sudokkho were:

  • Firstly, employers faced a significant ‘skills shortage’. Construction firms needed more skilled workers than are currently available in the market. Moreover, the demand for skilled workers will substantially increase in the coming years. This will trigger the interest of employers – contractors or sub-contractors – in skills training and to recruit trained workers.
  • Secondly, there existed a ‘wage premium’ for skills. According to Sudokkho’s aggregated data, a semiskilled worker can expect to earn 33 percent more than an unskilled worker and a skilled worker can expect to earn 26 percent more than a semi-skilled worker, and 68 percent more than an unskilled worker. Moreover, wage premiums exist across the range of construction occupations. This provides individuals with an incentive to invest in skills training.

Beneficiaries

The potential direct beneficiaries of Sudokkho are:

  • Unemployed or underemployed persons who are interested to seek semi-skilled or skilled work in either the construction or the RMG sector while 20% of the participants are from Disadvantaged Groups and special attention is on training women with average targets of 85% women participation in the RMG related skills and 5% in construction related skills.
  • Construction workers (especially at unskilled/semi-skilled level) that find work (or livelihood) at construction sites for houses and buildings.
  • Sewing machine operator opting for reskilling and multiskilling in the RMG sector
  • RMG factories willing to set up in-house industry-based training mechanism
  • Private training providers of Construction and RMG sectors willing to increase the training capacity and improve training quality that meet the requirements of the industry