No less than 400 thousand youths, a large portion of which is women, received training in a number of employable skills in non-agriculture sector from BRAC in last eight years and have found decent employment or started own initiatives.
BRAC officials revealed this information at an event today on Tuesday (23 July 2019) at the BRAC Centre in Dhaka. BRAC organised this event as a part of its celebration of World Youth Skills Day. The programme comprised an exhibition of BRAC skills development initiatives, launch of a publication titled “Star Toolkit: Introducing a Successful Entrepreneurship” and a series of panel discussions.
Faruque Hossain, chairman, National Skills Development Authority, was present as the chief guest at the panel discussion titled “SDG-8: Youth, skills and employment”. Tapan Kumar Ghosh, chairman, Bureau of Non-formal Education, and KAM Morshed, director, BRAC, participated in the discussion among others. Asif Saleh, acting executive director, BRAC, moderated the discussion.
Angela Naumann, first secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian High Commission, Bangladesh, Mashfique Ibne Akbar, private sector development adviser, Department of International Development, British High Commission, Dhaka, Zhigang Li, social sector specialist, Asian Development Bank, Tomoo Hozomi, country representative, UNICEF Bangladesh, participated in another panel discussion on financing of skills development initiatives.
BRAC Skills Development Programme is currently working with focus on three areas, namely, skills training and other services, systems change with the government and industry partnerships, and community engagement. At present it is operating eight projects focusing on the communities living in the cities, municipalities and Rohingyas and host community in Cox’s Bazar. These current projects are: Skills training for advancing resources (STAR), Promoting skills and productivity enhancement for resilience (PROSPER), Promoting business Incubation for small entrepreneurs (PROMISE), Pro-poor growth of rural enter-prises through sustainable skills-development (PROGRESS), Alternative learning programme for out of school adolescents (ALP), Partnership reinforcement for integrated skills enhancement (PRISE), Skills development project for Rohingyas, and Apprenticeship-based training for host community.
BRAC’s Skill Development Programme began its activities with the STAR project, which has developed a unique model reforming and institutionalising the ancient tradition of skills training through apprenticeships under a master craftsman. Under STAR project, BRAC officials find out skilled people who run their own business. After they go through specially designed training, selected trainees start apprenticeships under them. The trainers receive an honorarium for running the six-monthly course. This model on one hand creates opportunity for underprivileged youths for quality skill training, while helps keep costs low compared with institution-based training. After finishing apprenticeships, BRAC assists the youths to get decent jobs or start their own business.
Under the STAR project, BRAC trained 30 thousand youths up to December 2018. Of them 95 per cent found decent employment. For women trainees the impact is even bigger, reducing child marriage 65 per cent. Post training, the apprentices saw six times increase in both income and employment.
BRAC developed this unique model jointly with ILO, UNICEF, Department of Non-Formal Education of Bangladesh government and follows the National Technical and Vocational Quality Framework (NTVQF).
The experts at the panel discussions stressed effective collaboration between the government, donors, non-governmental actors and private sector for expanding the opportunities for employable skills development. They said to achieve SDG targets there is no alternative for skill development.
BRAC established Skill Development Programme with a socio-economic background of an increasing youth population, large gap in employable skills and training, risky migration of unskilled and semi-skilled labour force, increasing violence against girls and women, and expansion of urban spaces and their population.
Targeting both the domestic and overseas labour market, BRAC is currently giving 15 kinds of skills training in non-agriculture sector, which are: Tailoring and dress making, mobile phone servicing, wooden furniture making, beauty salon, refrigeration and AC servicing, basic electronics, graphic design, IT support technician, aluminum fabrication, motorcycle servicing, wooden furniture designing, electrical house wiring, block and batik, screen printing, jori and chumki work.