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Unified platform for skill developments needed

CISC/Business/24/12/2017

Unified platform for skill developments needed

Staff Correspondent

The construction industry is one of the largest and most dynamic economic sectors in Bangladesh and is considered to be the 6th largest industry in terms of GDP. According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS, 2012; 2011) the Construction sector presently contributes 9.1% to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and more than 80% of total manpower exports.

The construction sector is comprised of three main components:
(i) Infrastructure construction comprising roads, bridges, ports, waterways; etc.

(ii) Industrial construction; including factories, power stations, refineries, warehouses

(iii) Housing construction; including residential and office/commercial buildings, schools, etc.

In all three components, the industry is made up of developers, contractors, sub-contractors, professional organisations and material suppliers (such as cement, bricks, sand, tiles and marble, iron bars, steel and PVC pipes, etc.). There are more than 10,000 government-enlisted contractors engaged in infrastructure and industrial development and 1,500 companies engaged in the housing and real estate sector, many of whom are members of the business associations that are members of CISC.

During the next 10 years, the construction sector is projected to grow at an annual rate of 7.3% over which time it is estimated that more than 100 billion worth infrastructure will need to be built if the country is to attain its economic objectives to become a middle income country. The sector’s growth is being driven by the increasing demand for new housing and infrastructure rapidly increasing population. The growth forconstruction sector will lead to an associated growth in demand for labour generally and skilled labour in particular.

Unified platform of different industry sectors have been formed under specific terms and conditions of theNational Skills Development Policy 2011. Construction Industry Skills Council (CISC) is one of such platform.

Construction Industry Skills Council (CISC) is an organization responsible for skills demand and supply analysis, skills gap analysis, skills planning, training, development competency standard, competency based learning materials, assessment instruments and curriculum framework forconstruction sector.

The CISC covers constructions related companies from nine major associations e.g.Bangladesh Association of Construction Industry (BACI), Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh (REHAB), Bangladesh Association of Consulting Engineers (BACE), Bangladesh Electrical contractors Association (BECA), Bangladesh Brick Manufacturing Owners Association (BBMOA),Bangladesh Paint Manufacturers Association (BPMA), Bangladesh Stainless Steel Pipe Manufacturers Association (BSSPMA), Bangladesh Machine Made RCC Pipe Manufacturers Association (BMMPMA), Bangladesh Thikader Samity (BTS).

This was viewed by Engr. Shafiqul Alam Bhuiyan, Chairman of the CISC while exchanging his views on local construction industry’s current scenario and its future developments with The Daily Observer.

Mr. Bhuiyan also a former president of Bangladesh Association of Construction Industry (BACI) said more than 2.3 million workers are engaged with construction sector and the projected aggregate demand for construction Workers will rise by approximately 28%, from 3.2 million in 2016 to 4.1 million by the end of seventh five tear plan period. By 2025, the aggregate demand for construction worker will reach at 4.9 million growing by 59% from the level projected for 2016. Combining with the demand for construction workers in the international market, total demand for construction workers will rise from 3.34 million in 2016 to 4.04 million in 2020, increasing further to 5 million by the end of 2025.

But he said the grievance is that major portion of this large numbers of workers are not properly trained and are of unskilled. He said many workers acquire skills and knowledge through work and other life experience without access to formal education or training.

He said it is imperative to train the workers who are currently employed under contractors and real estate developers to respond to industry skills need.

Mr. Bhuiyan said due to absence of lawto employ the trained certified workers in construction activities, low skilled workers that causes waste of materials, hampers quality and increases projects duration are being engaged.

The Chairman of CISC said the government after feeling this need for skilled workers formed National Skill Development council (NSDC) whose function is to monitor and review skill development practices.In this regard the government formed project with own and foreign donors fund comprising DFID, ADB, ILO and others for skills development projectsunder different Govt. organization where local and foreign experts also working and SEIP (Skills for Employment Investments Program)and Sudokkhoare of such project who are supporting CISC.

In this regardshe clarified that at present Skills for Employment Investment Program(SEIP) provides financial cooperation and the Sudokkho provides technical assistance to CISC.

The NSDC is introducing specific mechanisms to improve skills development coordination across the country and to establish Skills Development Consultative Committees ineach division. These committees will promote public/private partnerships and support theNSDC secretariat to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the NSDC Action Plan.

Mr. Bhuiyan also managing director of the Monico Group said even though initially the activities of CISC are financed by foreign donors, financial support from the Govt. should beensured to continue the mandated activities of CISC in the future.

He also suggested for ensuring employment of certified skilled workers in the construction project through making necessary provisionby procuring entities. As a result, currently low skilled and untrained workers are being engaged inprojects which results few job opportunities for the trained and skilled workers.

The former president of BACI said when the government would enact laws for engaging certified skilled workers, it would change entire scenario of the local construction industry and in this way the government’s goal would be fulfilled that its trained certified workers would get priority in job market. He suggested that National Skill Development Council (NSDC) should be the prime body to achieve the objectives of Skill DevelopmentPolicy and all activities in the field of Skilled Development in the country should be under the unified platform is NSDC.