Apparel Makers, Schools Disharmonious in Labor Training

Clothing exports are making great contribution to Viet Nam’s economic growth. However, this industry is facing a serious labor shortage as vocational schools and universities don’t teach students appropriate and hands-on skills which apparel makers demand.
Clothing makers are in need of workers

Clothing industry is facing a serious labor shortage

The clothing industry has exceeded the petroleum to top the list of most export revenue. The country has earned US$7.5 billion in exporting clothes this year. The figure is expected to be US$9.45 billion next year, nearly reaching the target of US$10 billion set for 2010.
The target has put pressure on clothes makers as they are lacking skilled workers and managers.
Many garment companies in Ho Chi Minh City said at present, orders are not a problem, but labor forces.
Pham Xuan Hong, general director of Sai Gon 3 Garment Joint Stock Company, said in order to boost exports, companies need to equip cutting-edge equipment and employ qualified managers who can help increase productivity to keep up with the growing exports.
It is not a right time now for companies to build more factories, they have to consider the labor deficiency and think about long-term production, he added.
Previously, when rural workers flocked to big cities, many garment enterprises in HCMC have moved their factories to provinces to utilize the abundant labor force there. 
However, the labor productivity is low at those factories because workers are unskilled and don’t work in an industrial manner. Moreover, clothing job is no longer attractive to workers even in rural areas.
Around the annual year-end, garment makers are always anxious about the labor shortage because workers quit their job after the Lunar New Year.
Training is not appropriate to real work
Nguyen Huu Toan, deputy director of Sai Gon 2 Garment JS Co., said students usually practice at his company before graduation but only a few are qualified to work at the company after graduation.
“Many of them don’t know how to sew, not to mention technique or management,” he said.
Training curriculums at schools lack the real-world practice so that students are unable to manage a production line or work as a technician like their study major.
Clothing makers prefer training workers by themselves for none better than them, they know what position they need and what qualification they require. So far, heads of production line are skilled workers who have worked for companies for a long time.
In addition, Nguyen Duc Trung, principle of a professional technique college, said  students are no longer interested in the study field of clothing and design industry so that some schools have to stop training the clothing field.

By My Hanh – Translated by Yen Chuong

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