Apparel industry to upscale skills and quality of workforce | Sunday Observer

Apparel industry to upscale skills and quality of workforce

6 October, 2019
Tuli Cooray
Tuli Cooray

The apparel industry plans to upscale the skill and quality of its workforce, by changing people’s perceptions in an image building effort taken collectively by industrialists. This is being done to ensure the sustainability of the apparel sector.

“We are working towards changing the perception of the public regarding the apparel sector workforce. Our efforts will boost their image and this has been an ongoing initiative to attract young blood to the industry, which is fast becoming the key economic driver,” Secretary General, Joint Apparel Association Forum, Tuli Cooray said.

This image building program has been in effect over a one and half years but it has been mainly confined to social media. The program seeks the support of the print and electronic media as a positive move to speed up the process.

“The huge economic contribution made by the apparel sector workforce is not given due recognition and we want to fill this gap. This will also give dignity to their job while changing the mind set of society towards a more positive approach and thereby encourage more youth to join the industry,” he said.

“We have a serious problem in getting quality people as the industry is associated with a perception issue. Young labour are presented with various opportunities in the emerging sectors (such as in supermarkets and tourism). These were not there 30 years ago. Our industry continues to grow and we are concerned about meeting the labour requirements” he said.

A survey conducted by the LMRB with 500 samples to identify the labour problems in the apparel sector had interviewed mothers, sisters, relatives, grama sevaka officers and school principals . It has clearly showed that starting from school, a wrong message is disseminated, by holding garment workers in low esteem.

This effort is expected to influence society to recognise the economic contribution made by the apparel sector. There will be a follow up in the form of another survey to ascertain the impact of this initiative and what further measures are necessary.

The apparel industry is progressing well and has recorded 8 percent growth with the possibility of reaching high single digit growth in the near future.

“The industry records good growth. With the expectation of reaching high single digit growth it will push strongly for a double digit growth next year. The industry stakeholders are optimistic of achieving or surpassing revenue targets and propelling the growth trajectory further,” he said.