Our impact, their voices

How vocational education and training gave me the skills for success

Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) can be a window of opportunity for young people searching for decent work across wide a range of occupational fields and production services.

Feature | 11 July 2023
Shukumar Tonchongya during his training class at the institute   © ILO
DHAKA (ILO News) – Shukumar Tonchongya, in his early 20’s, is one of almost 6,000 young people in Bangladesh to benefit from the ILO’s Skills 21 project, funded by the European Union.

Skills 21 supports Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutes in seven different locations throughout Bangladesh, with the aim of popularizing TVET and creating model institutes offering competency-based training, equity and access, good governance, industry engagement, green skills, entrepreneurship skills and career guidance and job placement help.

The training includes welding, graphic design, electrical installation and maintenance, plumbing, refrigeration & and air conditioning, woodworking machine operation, sewing machine operation, care-giving and driving. This is his story:

“I am Shukumar Tonchongya, a resident of Kaptai, a sub-district of one of the hill districts of Rangamati. I passed SSC [Secondary School Certificate] in 2017 and after that I was completely idle. My father and elder brother do farm work, which is not much. Our family income was even less during the Coronavirus pandemic from 2020, just like everyone else. That is when I began to look for ways to help my family.”

“I found out from my friends that the Kaptai Polytechnic was giving people technical training and helping their trainees to get jobs. After doing some research, in January 2021 I was admitted to the four-month long Welding and Fabrication Trade Course.”

“I didn’t only learn welding work on this course; I also learned about the proper use of equipment and how to keep myself safe during the training and at the workplace while using the equipment. The Institute developed different occupational safety measures with illustrations in Bangla and showcased them in the classroom.”

“After completing the course, with the help of the career guidance officer I got a job in an Engineering Workshop located at Lichubagan, Rangunia, Chattogram area. I started the job on 1 August 2021 with a salary of 12,500 Bangladesh Taka (USD115). I am happy that with these earnings. I can send some money home after taking care of my own expenses.”

“I am proud that, from 2021, the Institute, with direction from the Ministry of Education, organized a TVET awareness campaign. I was one of the influencers in that campaign, which aimed to motivate local young people like me. I felt honoured. While I participated in the campaign everyone attentively listened to what I was saying to them.”

“During the campaign when I saw my photographs on the poster, TVET Institute leaflets, and my video had been showcased at the community gathering, it was an immense pleasure for me. I felt I was not only earning for my family and contributing to the country’s economy, but also motivating the next generation for TVET.”

“This is why I want to tell the young people in my area that instead of remaining idle they should take some technical training to gain skills and enter the world of work. Doing so will bring prosperity to your own life, your families as well as to the country. Let’s be skillful, be successful!”.

Shukumar and his father in the TVET awareness campaign poster for parents   © ILO