New strategy seeks to reinvigorate Bangladeshi apprenticeship system

The need to popularise apprenticeships and the benefits that this will have for both the workforce and the Bangladesh economy were discussed at a high level consultation held today

Press release | 11 December 2014

Discussions centred around the draft national apprenticeship strategy paper developed by the Bangladesh Skills for Employment and Productivity (B-SEP) Project of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the National Skills Development Council (NSDC) Secretariat, in close consultation with key ministries and departments, employers, workers organizations and civil society organizations.

Speaking as the chief guest of the meeting, Mr. Md. Mujibul Haque Chunnu, State Minister, Ministry of Labour and Employment, expressed his satisfaction at the completion the first draft of the strategy and stressed the urgent need to implement it.

“Our goal to become a middle income country by 2021 will only be possible by enhancing the capacity of the workforce and by ensuring more employment and higher wages through a better skilled workforce. This draft strategy, once finalized and endorsed by all stakeholders will play a critical role in achieving this goal,” he said.

The 2011 National Skills Development Policy emphasized the formulation of an apprenticeship strategy. The draft strategy under discussion will foster a more coherent and strengthened approach towards apprenticeships in Bangladesh. It seeks the involvement of a variety of training agencies and other non-governmental organisations which are currently providing training both for the formal and non-formal sectors as well as the promotion of public private partnerships to implement apprenticeships. By doing so the apprenticeship system, which has become less popular in Bangladesh over the years could be reinvigorated and scaled up to provide skilled staff across all sectors of the economy.

Mr. Cezar Dragutan, Chief Technical Advisor, B-SEP said: “The Draft Strategy for Apprenticeship is a step towards creating an efficient and skilled workforce for Bangladesh. The apprenticeship system has much to offer workers and industry alike. Workers can earn as they learn while businesses can mould potential employees, many of whom usually become permanent staff. By encouraging development of the strategy in a joint effort together with representatives of government, employers and workers organisations we can help the Bangladesh adopt a strategy capable of again making apprenticeships an integral part of industry nationwide. This will ultimately help lead to both higher levels of productivity while also reducing poverty by increasing incomes.”

The five year B-SEP Project is funded by the Government of Canada through a CAD19.5 million grant, and is designed to provide support the implementation of the National Skills Development Policy (NSDP) and development of a robust and more effective skills system in Bangladesh, which would allow to achieve a better trained and qualified workforce in key industry sectors in order to contribute to decent work, sustainable economic development, poverty reduction, and social inclusion. Ministry of Education is the implementing ministry through its Directorate of Technical Education (DTE) and ILO is the implementing agency through technical cooperation agreement.

Ms. Sabrina Islam, Vice-President, Bangladesh Employers’ Federation (BEF); Mr. Zakir Hossain, Chairperson, National Coordination Committee for Workers’ Education (NCCWE); Mr. Md. Shahjahan Mian, Director General, Directorate of Technical Education & NPD, TVET Reform Project; Mr. Arthur Shears, Chief Technical Adviser, TVET Reform Project; and Mr ABM Korshed Alam, Chief Executive Officer (Additional Secretary) National Skills Development Council spoke at the consultation meeting.