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ADB's $350m for skills training

The Daily Star, 20 May 2014 - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will lend $350 million to Bangladesh to help public and private institutions scale up skills training for 1.25 million young workers.

The training will help the young be well-equipped to find jobs and meet the changing needs of present labour market, the Manila-based lender said in a statement yesterday.

“Bringing together the public sector with the private sector to provide the vocational and technical skills that employers seek will mean more and better-paid jobs and shift economy to a higher level,” said Sungsup Ra, director of ADB's South Asia Department.
Two thirds of the Bangladesh workforce has only minimal education and only 4 percent has received any kind of training, ADB said.

Moreover, the skills development system can only meet about 20 percent of training needs, meaning many youth cannot find good jobs, underemployment is rife, and wages remain low, it said. “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, according to the statement.

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 fourfold increase in skills training, it said.

The government's National Skills Development Council has been working to promote skills since 2011 as part of its vision of achieving middle-income status by 2021.

The total cost of the government's Skills for Skills for Employment Investment Programme is estimated at $1.07 billion.
ADB loans for the programme will be made in three tranches as part of a seven-year financing facility. “It is expected to be complemented by $200 million in co-financing from the Bangladesh government, $30 million from the Swiss government, $400 million from other development partners, and $90 million from the private sector.”


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