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May 2, 2019

Tunisia project seeks to upskill future textile workforce

By Hannah Abdulla

A Tunisian youth-employment project aimed at upskilling the future workforce of the textile industry, among others, has held its second capacity-building seminar.

The Youth Employment in the Mediterranean (YEM) project is an initiative between the National Observatory of Employment and Skills and UNESCO and is funded by the European Union.

The programme aims to strengthen the Tunisian vocational training system through a forecast of the job demand of the labour market. It then uses the forecasts to tailor training and qualification programnmes for young people that meet the future requirements of the labour market.

The YEM project aims to involve economic actors in the discussion about the development of the sectors about the challenges that are linked to the economic context. This, it claims, makes it possible to identify levers that are likely to have a tangible impact on job creation and the demand for skills.

Nouha Dallagi, general secretary of Fenatex, one of the participants in the YEM seminar, commented on some of the current challenges in the apparel sector the programme was looking to tackle.

“One of the main challenges of the textile-clothing sector in Tunisia is to move from subcontracting to co-contracting and finished products. Companies must be able to offer comprehensive know-how and integrate the value chain perfectly. For that, it is necessary that the raw material becomes more accessible in order to have a large impact on job creation.

Another challenge, Dallagi says, is the lack of advanced skills of the workforce, which needs tailored training in specialised and niche sectors.

While transversal skills, which she says are too often neglected, are essential, with Dallagi noting young people must learn how to sell and to communicate.

“This exercise, which began last July, has great potential for improving vocational training, making it more relevant to the needs of businesses. For the textile sector, in particular, the scenario of promoting a social and solidarity-based economy can reduce production costs.”

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