Informal apprenticeships

Pakistan learning lessons from Bangladesh in structuring informal apprenticeships

A five-day visit of fourteen high-level officials from Pakistan’s public and private sector concluded today. The officials were here to learn about how the government and industry are working together to structure apprenticeships in Bangladesh’s informal sector, in trades such as motorcycle servicing, mobile phone servicing, tailoring and dressmaking.

Press release | Dhaka, Bangladesh | 27 September 2013
© ILO/ S. Saltmarsh 2013
DHAKA (ILO News) - In South Asia, 80-90 per cent of the total labour force is engaged in the informal economy. In Bangladesh, 87 per cent of workers hold informal jobs, including wage labourers, self-employed persons, unpaid family labour, and piece-rate workers. Learners are often exploited, as unstructured apprenticeships can continue for years without learners being equipped with any real skills. In Bangladesh, the government, non-government and private sector, supported by the ILO, are working to change this, by introducing structured pathways to learn skills. 

The TVET Reform Project is introducing new ways to improve skills training in the informal sector. We have had a number of successes since the project began in 2007, one of the most recent being the graduation of 1,000 skilled apprentices in the informal sector with the help of BRAC and UNICEF said Arthur Shears, Chief Technical Advisor, TVET Reform Project.

One thing that really stood out for us was seeing industry, non-government and government organizations working together ."
“What we have learnt from Bangladesh on this mission will definitely help skills development in Pakistan. We have similar training systems, but Pakistan has not yet developed a National Skills Development Policy. One thing that really stood out for us was seeing industry, non-government and government organizations working together to make the best use of all the infrastructure they have to skill young people in the informal sector. Bangladesh is also slowly shifting from curriculum-based learning to competency-based learning and we want to do that in Pakistan. It is also encouraging to see so many women engaged in Bangladesh’s labour force” said Nabeela Saeed Kazmi, Chairperson, Trade Testing Board, Pakistan.

The high-level officials have met with representatives of the Bangladesh Technical Education Board (BTEB), National Skills Development Council (NSDC), Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET), Directorate of Technical Education (DTE), BRAC and a number of informal employers and training institutions.

The TVET Reform Project is an initiative of the Government of Bangladesh, assisted by the International Labour Organisation and funded by the European Union. The goal is to ensure Bangladesh’s competitiveness in the global market and reduce poverty by improving the quality of vocational educational and training.

The ILO is the United Nations agency dealing with work and workplace issues.

For further information please contact:

Arthur Shears
Chief Technical Advisor, ILO TVET Reform Project
Tel.:  +880 17 303 10401

Mohammed Nuruzzaman
Programme Officer, ILO TVET Reform Project
Tel.: +880 17 117 31539