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Skills You'll Need For Career Success

Skills You'll Need For Career Success

Bangladesh is actively advancing to solidify its position as a developing nation and attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With the ambition of achieving developed status by 2041, the shift from a labor-intensive economy to one based on skills and knowledge becomes imperative.

The national aspirations and strategies are outlined in the priorities and perspective plan for a skill-based economy by 2041. Evident in ongoing mega projects and economic zones, a comprehensive approach is essential to generate numerous opportunities for the promotion of high-quality skills.

To enhance and fortify the skill-based economy, the imperative is to foster a "skill ecosystem" in every region and division, emphasizing both the formal and informal sectors of skills development.

Given the emergence of economic zones, large-scale projects, the Rohingya crisis, and the broader challenges and opportunities stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic, the dynamics of skills demand in various regions have undergone significant and diverse changes. However, a substantial gap persists between the demand for skilled workforce and the available supply, hindering the ability to address the potential demand, opportunities, and challenges posed by the intended mega projects and the expanding skill economy.

Each year, approximately 2.2 million individuals enter the labor market, but merely 1.9 percent of them undergo formal skills training. Furthermore, concerns include the mismatch of skill composition across various occupational courses and the outdated equipment and machinery standards in training centers, posing significant hurdles in meeting the contemporary and advanced skill requirements.

Moreover, the absence of a regional focus with functional dynamics represents a significant gap in skills promotion, particularly concerning the availability of quality training opportunities and formal accreditation. The eventual consequences of these shortcomings, evident in poor performance, neglect of skills recognition, low wages, and poor job retention, are incongruent with national aspirations.

The project has specifically targeted key priority economic growth sectors identified by the government to enhance entry-level job skills and upskill the existing workforce, ensuring that the required skills align with industry standards. The prioritized sectors include:

  • readymade garments (RMG) and textile
  • construction
  • information technology
  • light engineering/manufacturing
  • leather and footwear
  • ship building

Additionally, the demand for other promising sectors has surged during the Covid-19 pandemic, including health, caregiving, and other service sectors. Projected training targets to meet the skills demand in priority sectors over the next two decades are estimated at around 7.20 million by 2025, 9.75 million by 2030, and 17.14 million by 2041. Achieving these targets is crucial to reaching the ultimate milestone of graduating as a "developed country." Fulfilling this vision necessitates the establishment of a skill ecosystem across all regions of Bangladesh, achievable through a structured and coordinated effort among key stakeholders.

To promote the skill ecosystem at the regional level, public and private institutions, along with corporate agencies, must collaborate through an integrated approach to functionalize the value chain system. In a skill ecosystem, coordinated efforts among industries, technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutes, skills authorities, skill councils, and corporate agencies enhance the ability to address the demand, challenges, and opportunities in a region's economy to achieve common goals.

The establishment of a "Regional Apex Body for Skill Ecosystem" is imperative, led by vibrant leadership preferably from the industry sector, to play a proactive role and invest in implementing the progressive skills promotion plan with ownership. A policy framework is necessary to operationalize the skill ecosystem at the regional level, fostering a clear understanding among key stakeholders and setting common goals with shared interests. This framework will guide the establishment of apex bodies at both national and regional levels.

The skill ecosystem will unlock the significant potential of industries in a region to invest in building the capacity of TVET centers and developing the required skilled workforce through quality training. Additionally, "on-the-job up-skilling training" within respective industries will add value, leveraging skills promotion by providing opportunities for workforce development. This approach will influence role upgrades, better wages, and improved retention, facilitated through buyers' compliance indicators. Similarly, the skill ecosystem will closely collaborate with buyers to promote "workplace well-being" as an effective mechanism to influence industries through compliance indicators in favor of decent employment.

All donor-funded projects should be directed towards promoting the skill ecosystem by focusing on potential areas of interest to concerned donors and development organizations. An effective mechanism to channel Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds from industries and different corporate houses in a region could be a potential option to finance innovative projects that promote and strengthen different segments of the skill ecosystem.

Under the guidance of the apex body, meaningful investment is crucial for resource mobilization and coordination of efforts among key stakeholders in the following aspects:

  1. Capacity building of TVET centers/institutes with required equipment, lab facility, and human resource is one of the prerequisites which needs to be achieved through mapping of regional TVET centers, prioritization of strength and need assessment. About 90 percent of the technical training centers are private out of 3438 centers in Bangladesh, however, strength and quality is a concern.
  2. Registration or accreditation of TVET centers by the national authority at regional level to streamline the quality is necessary; classification of the occupational strength of the training centers in different sectors would help in quality output.
  3. Demand driven quality assurance would be one of the prime responsibilities of the working group.
    Ensure quality skills training with certification from a formal authority.
  4. Industry-based up-skilling intervention would be a prime responsibility of industries in addition to “apprenticeship” and “on-the-job training” for continuous skills promotion.
  5. Quality assurance framework needs to be adopted as one of the prime focuses of the 
Md Motasim Billa

Md Motasim Billa


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