ILO explores ways to link training and jobs in Bangladesh

A workshop on employment support services was held on July 3, 2014 to discuss different ways of linking skills to jobs in Bangladesh.

Article | 29 April 2015
There are many private institutions that provide employment support services in Bangladesh. These work well on a small scale, but are not coordinated and cannot adequately address the needs of the country. To benefit larger numbers of industries and graduates, a new initiative is needed, one that directly brings together industry and training institutions.

The first session in the workshop was presented by Mr Paul Comyn, Senior Skills Specialist, Decent Work Country Team, Delhi. Mr Comyn introduced the Public Employment Support Services (PESS) concept;

‘PESS are the government institutions which to help workers enter the labour market, to facilitate labour market adjustments, and to cushion the impact of economic transitions.’

Mr Comyn pointed out challenges for implementing the concept in Bangladesh though, such as a lack of labour market information and poor ICT systems, integrating migrant workers and the informal economy.

AFM Mizanur Rahman, Chief Instructor and attached officer, Directorate of Technical Education, discussed how career guidance does not only help individuals but it can also contribute to public policy goals. He highlighted the changes in the way young people are choosing careers in Bangladesh, but how barriers such as parental influence and informal guidance, inflexible and rigid allocation system of students to educational pathways, negative stereotyping of vocational careers, informal allocation mechanisms to jobs still exist.

Mr. Jibon Kumar Chowdhury, Chief Executive Officer, National Skills Development Council Secretariat recommended that a strong focus should be on meeting foreign demands for skilled workers given the number of Bangladeshis working abroad and the prospects for growth in this sector. Mr Chowdhury recommended that employment support services be piloted in TVET institutes.

Mr. Habibur Rahman, Manager, Underprivileged Children's Educational Programs (UCEP), presented UCEP’s success in linking their trainees with jobs, highlighting the organisation’s direct linkage to 1269 large industries, 792 medium industries and 1227 small industries.

While there were varied opinions in that employment services should focus on, and which modality would be most effective, there was a consensus that a centralized initiative is needed. Consultations will continue on the specifics of that initiative and a pilot programme is planned for early 2015.

Linking skills to jobs is part of reforming Bangladesh’s skills development system which is currently being undertaken by the Government of Bangladesh through the National Skills Development Policy and assisted by funding from Canada through the Bangladesh Skills for Employment and Productivity Project.

See a 2-page fact sheet on the National Skills Development Policy here
See the full National Skills Development Policy (English/Bangla) here