ADB to lend $350m for upgrading workforce

United News of Bangladesh . Dhaka
A file photo shows workers busy at a garment factory in Dhaka. The Asian Development Bank will lend $350 million to Bangladesh to help public and private institutions scale up skills-training for 1.25 million young workers.— New Age photo

A file photo shows workers busy at a garment factory in Dhaka. The Asian Development Bank will lend $350 million to Bangladesh to help public and private institutions scale up skills-training for 1.25 million young workers.— New Age photo

The Asian Development Bank will lend $350 million to Bangladesh to help public and private institutions scale up skills-training for 1.25 million young workers to equip them to find jobs and meet the changing needs of today’s labour market.
The total cost of the government’s Skills for Employment Investment Program is estimated at $1.07 billion.
ADB loans for the program will be released in three tranches as part of a seven-year financing facility, said a press release.
It is expected to be complemented by $200 million in co-financing from the Government of Bangladesh, $30 million from the Government of Switzerland, $400 million from other development partners, and $90 million from the private sector.
The investment program will support skills training in 15 priority sectors, starting with six sectors: garments and textiles, leather, construction, light engineering, information technology, and shipbuilding.
A major target of the programme is to boost job placement to around 70 per cent, from about 40 per cent prevailing now.
The first $100 million tranche of the facility is expected to be signed in the coming weeks with the second expected in mid-2016 and the third in mid-2018.
The first tranche will target 40,000 women and disadvantaged people, including those with disabilities. It will also support 32 public training institutions under three ministries, nine industry associations, microcredit organization Palli-Karma Sahayak Foundation (PKSF), and Bangladesh Bank Small and Medium Enterprise Department.
By 2015, the programme aims to help set up a National Human Resource Development Fund to scale up skills training. The programme will also support the government’s plan to establish a new ministry or authority for skills development.
‘Bringing together the public sector with the private sector to provide the vocational and technical skills that employers need will mean more and better-paid jobs and ultimately help Bangladesh shift its economy to a higher level,’ said Sungsup Ra, director in ADB’s South Asia Department.
The release said that two-thirds of the Bangladesh workforce had only minimal education and only 4 per cent has received any kind of training.
Moreover, the skills development system at present can only meet about 20 per cent of training needs, meaning many youth cannot find good jobs, underemployment is rife, and wages remain low. Women, in particular, suffer from a lack of skills-training.
By 2025, Bangladesh is expected to have 78 million workers, up from 56.7 million in 2010. However, Bangladesh will only be able to take advantage of this demographic shift if it makes urgent investments in higher-quality schooling and at least a four-fold increase in skills-training.

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