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Training for industrial management staff

September 24, 2021 00:00:00

Skill development often figures as integral to raising productivity and, indeed for obvious reasons, in bulk production lines such as in textile, leather and footwear manufacturing. However, what is no less important is the efficiency and competence of industrial mangers who being at the centre of all activities are required to be not only good overseers but also equipped with knowledge and modern technology tools to make things happen in the best possible manner. Although the country is well into large-scale production and export of manufactured goods, there is little in terms of institutional capacity building of the managers running the show. As a result, many of the industrial managers are mostly trained in-house by the enterprises they work for. No doubt, this practice is self-limiting in that a manager, even a gifted one, has little scope to learn things beyond the day-to-day routine activities. It is here that the recent move to train mid-level readymade garment (RMG) managers and employees strikes the right chord.

The Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) and BGMEA University of Fashion and Technology (BUFT) last week signed an agreement to launch diploma courses for mid-level managers and employees of garment factories to develop their professional skills. At the signing ceremony that took place at the Commerce Minister's office, speakers including the BGMEA President, EPB Vice Chairman and the Commerce Minister regretted that clearly there was a dearth of trained managers and employees in the RMG industry and that the initiative now being taken should be rolled out in other industrial sectors as well.

The important thing that they, however, did not mention is that productivity-wise Bangladesh lags behind many RMG exporting countries despite the fact that the country is currently the third exporter of RMG globally. The ranking has dropped by a notch with Vietnam taking over Bangladesh lately. No wonder, if productivity remains at this level, the ranking might go farther down.

There is no point disputing the merit of specialised institutional training, particularly at this time when technology is the main driver and newer concepts and practices are increasingly shaping the dynamics of industrial productivity. While the initiative for training the RMG managers and employees is highly laudable, it is critically important that there has to be sufficient sector-wise training facilities for some of the major industrial sectors. There are some institutes that run such programmes but the important issue is whether their training modules are updated in keeping with the global trends and practices. Beside the major manufacturing sectors, there is the need for developing training facilities in many potential sectors like light engineering, plastic, poultry, dairy and fishing -- to name only a few. Most of the manpower crops engaged in these fields are self-taught and hence their knowledge and skills gap are largely responsible for less than desired output. It is thus in the interest of all production arenas that proper institutional training for skills improvement is a must. The chambers and business associations should rise up to the need of the time.

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