Post-Covid industry readiness, skils dev stressed to tackle job loss

Speakers at a virtual seminar on Sunday urged to develop demand-based modern curriculum for industry.

They said Post-covid industry readiness and skills development is very much needed to tackle job loss.

Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) organized the webinar on “post-covid-19 Bangladesh industry readiness: investment and skills” through zoom online platform. 

Deputy Minister, Ministry of Education Mohibul Hassan Chowdhoury, MP joined the meeting as the chief guest while Executive Chairman of BIDA Md. Sirazul Islam joined as special guest.

DCCI President Shams Mahmud delivered welcome address in the webinar.

He said that due to covid 19 pandemic we have experienced slower growth of export including in the RMG sector. Due to lack of working capital and squeezed international export market we have seen job losses both in SME and informal sector. Industry relocation from China opens up a greater opportunity for Bangladesh, he said.

“Moreover, Bangladesh has the competitive advantage with a demographic dividend of 63.5 million workforces, he added. 20 percent of our total workforce are engaged in manufacturing industry despite we need a lot of skilled workforce. But in the post-covid period, sustaining existing employment and creating more employment will be a big challenge”, he mentioned. 

To take up this situation, Shams Mahmud recommended for modernized curriculum, up-skilling and re-skilling of workers utilizing 4IR, create an Inclusive Digital Infrastructure, infrastructure development to grab the opportunity of industry relocation and easier loan access to the SMEs.    

Mohibul Hassan Chowdhoury, MP, Deputy Ministry, Ministry of Education said that considering returning of migrant workers, government has decided to withdraw age barrier for getting technical education in Bangladesh. Our Universities should focus on creating industry’s demand based skilled graduates.  About 2.8 million students are being enrolled in our Colleges under National University. But we need to modernize our education curriculum as per the requirements of industry. Re-skilling and up-skilling of our workers as well as returnee migrants will be vital, he said. 

Guest of Honour Dr. Engr. Md. Sakawat Ali, Director (Training), Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET) informed that through the 70 training institutes of BMET, training will be provided to the returning skilled migrants to help them convert into entrepreneurs. Based on their occupational capability, a database will be made, he said. Those who are less skilled returned migrant they will also be provided training so that they can find suitable job again in the international market.

Shaquib Quoreshi, Enterpriser, Business Intelligence Limited presented the keynote paper. He highlighted that amid covid 19 pandemic business closure in the Middle East, Western Europe and ASEAN region will result in sudden increase of returning migrant workers. Our labor market information system is still under developed, he said. 

Additional Secretary, Md. Shahidul Alam, ndc, Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment said about 2.2 million people is added to the mainstream workforce every year. Off them, about 0.8 million people go abroad for work. But due to covid pandemic, few of our expat workers may lose jobs and may come back to Bangladesh though the total will not be an alarming for us, he said. Md. Sirazul Islam, Executive Chairman, BIDA said for our industry readiness, we have shortages of managerial skills in our graduates. Our Industry is expanding in a faster pace, but in line with that, development of soft managerial skill is not quite visible at all. ‘Research and Innovation’ initiative of DCCI will be a game changer, he told.

Mentioning need for skill he said BIDA gives work permit to the foreign workers every year upon local industry requirements. To come out of this skill gap, we need to give emphasize on communication, technical and language skill of our workers. Amid covid 19 pandemic situation, it is an opportunity for us to adopt 4th industrial revolution. 

In the Open Discussion session Asif Ibrahim, Chairman, Chittagong Stock Exchange Limited & former President, DCCI, Khairul Majid Mahmud, former Director, DCCI, Humayun Rashid, former Senior Vice President, DCCI, Alhaj Abdus Salam, Former Senior Vice President, DCCI, Data Magfur, former Director, DCCI, Mohammad Sharfuddin, former Director, DCCI and Kh. Shahidul Islam, former Vice President, DCCI spoke on the occasion.