Human Resource Development Fund to promote employment through skills training

A Human Resource Development Fund will provide extra resources to create jobs for young people in Bangladesh.

A brighter future through skills training
The establishment of a National Human Resource Development Fund (NHRDF) was confirmed 15 May 2016 by the A.B.M. Khorshed Alam, CEO, National Skills Development Council (NSDC) Secretariat, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of Bangladesh.

Mr. Alam said, “This Fund will help meet the skills development needs of the country, leading to better jobs for millions.”

In Bangladesh, over 2.6 million youths enter the legal employment age annually but less than 8% are able to access public training.  The majority of the population aged 15-24 (about 20 million people) resides in rural areas where training institutes are limited and suffer from low capacity to deliver high quality training.  The main objective of this Fund is to mobilize resources to promote employment through publically-financed skills training especially in rural areas. 

The Government announced its commitment to establish the NHRD Fund in the FY 2015-16 budget speech.  The Honorable Finance Minister proposed to allocate Tk. 100 crore (approx. USD12.7 million) for this purpose.  The Fund comes in addition to the existing resource base for skills development activities and should thus have its own set of clearly defined outcomes and performance indicators that are well monitored and transparent. The National Skill Development Council Secretariat in collaboration with International Labor Organization (ILO) is helping guide the establishment of the Fund.

Srinivas Reddy, Country Director, International Labour Organization said, “The Fund should focus on ensuring employment of the trained persons rather than on improvement of the TVET system which has already received significant support.  Performance indicators should not be in terms of persons trained but in terms of persons trained and employed.  Thus partnerships with the private sector and active engagement of the Industry Skills Councils are critical.”

The HRDF will be used for pre-employment training, up-skill training for existing workers, and training of women and disadvantaged people.  The Fund will be an institutional framework for collecting and allocating fund to training providers with a view to strengthening training programs, diversify financing, achieving closer integration of skills training with work, and reaching out to underserved population. With a robust digital tracking system in place and effective implementation, the Fund can be used to raise the productivity, competitiveness and incomes of individuals and enterprises in Bangladesh.

Decentralization of training delivery by various ministries and coordination of such activities at the Divisions and Upazillas levels are critical to the success of this Fund. For this, a mapping of accredited TVET providers with data on the availability of skills training by Division and Upazilla is necessary, as well as strategies and structures for reaching out to disadvantaged groups needing training.