THE Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) said that this year it plans to spend US$5 million to build a training centre in order to boost the skills of garment workers and enable them to take over management functions currently dominated by foreign workers.
“We hope to get something started as soon as in June,” said Ken Loo, secretary general of GMAC, after finishing an annual general meeting at the Cambodiana Hotel in Phnom Penh yesterday. “Now, we are looking for a location to set up a building,” he said.
The training centre will be built using a loan from the French Development Agency, Ken Loo said.
Van Sou Ieng, who was elected president of GMAC yesterday, told The Post that the institute will be able to train around 1,000 workers a year.
“Our main purpose in building this institute is to train Cambodian workers in the garment sector with skills so that they will be able to replace foreign workers who are working in the management level in Cambodia at present,” Van Sou Ieng said.
Around 320,000 people work in Cambodia’s garment sector, including about 10,000 at management level.
However, most managers tend to be Chinese, Vietnamese or Filipino.
Van Sou Ieng said Cambodian workers with at least two years’ experience could apply for the training courses, which would range from six months to three years. Fees would be paid by employers.
Ath Thon, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union, said yesterday that he welcomed the GMAC’s training centre as it will help Cambodians to get management-level jobs. Currently 90 percent of those positions in Cambodia are held by foreigners, he claimed.
“I hope that the training centre will enable our Cambodian workers to keep in touch with and to have access to modern techniques in the garment sector to fulfill the requirements of investors, and to replace foreign workers in Cambodia at present,” he said.