THE Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC) said it plans to spend US$5 million to develop a training institute next year to boost the skills of garment workers and enable them to take over management functions currently dominated by overseas workers.
GMAC President Van Sou Ieng told the Post by phone from China on Wednesday 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, very few managers are Cambodian.
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.
The association was looking for a location for the school, which will be built using a loan from the French Development Agency (AFD). Construction would begin early next year, Van Sou Ieng said.
Chea Mony, president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, said the country has very few highly skilled workers but an abundance of low-skilled workers, particularly relative to neighbouring countries.
"I believe that the institute will enable our workers to keep in touch with and to have access to modern techniques in the garment sector to fulfill the requirements of investors," he said.