Cambodias apparel industry is facing a chronic skills shortage

Cambodia's apparel industry is facing a chronic skills shortage

The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) has opened its first garment manufacturing training institute in the country in a bid to fill the industry's skills gap.

The new Cambodian Garment Training Institute has been nearly two years in the making and is designed to increase the productivity of garment manufacturers by improving workers' skills through training, as well as increasing the scope of employment.

A spokesperson for GMAC says it hopes the facility, set up inside the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone, will raise efficiency within the sector.

"We plan to target all levels within the industry and will offer training courses from the most basic sewing operators to more specialised positions such as merchandisers and pattern makers," Ken Loo, GMAC secretary general, told just-style.

The move comes as Cambodia's apparel industry – of critical importance to its national economy – is facing a chronic skills shortage as it struggles to retain experienced workers. At present, the industry is experiencing a massive 44% annual labour turnover, meaning nearly half of its workforce quit jobs every year.

Cambodia clothing sector faces up to skills gap

According to the sixth edition of the International Labour Organization's Cambodian bulletin, there was 2.9% decline in the number of workers year-on-year 2016.

Around 160 workers from 14 factories from various parts of the country will initially be given training at the new Cambodian Garment Training Institute. Singapore-based fashion institute TaF.tc International will offer technical knowledge to the students.

As well as training garment workers, the institute will also offer three different diploma programmes to high school and university students interested in building a career in the garment industry. Applicants will be able to choose from various specialisations, including production engineering, quality control and garment design. It will also offer 27 short-term courses that will focus on manufacturing skills.

The institute has been set up with financial assistance from the French Agency for Development (AFD), and  will be recognised as a private accredited training institute by the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training.