Our impact, Their voices

How skills training transformed Taslima’s life

Skills 21 project is a joint initiative of the Government of Bangladesh and the International Labour Organization (ILO), funded by the European Union. The project seeks to increase productivity and employment opportunities through an environmentally conscious, inclusive, demand-driven, and interlinked skills development system responding to the needs of the labour market.

Feature | Dhaka | 23 May 2020
Taslima in her practical class in Sylhet Technical School and College© ILO
DHAKA, Bangladesh (ILO News)- Taslima Khanam is a 19-year-old teenager who grew up in Sunamganj, Sylhet. After completing her SSC in Vocational Education in 2015, like many young girls, she was forced to end her education due to her family’s financial hardship. Taslima’s father is a small farmer and earns very little to survive and to feed her and her two younger siblings
In 2015, at the age of 15 to ease the burden on her parents and younger siblings, Taslima moved to live with her eldest sister in Sylhet.

In 2019, she received a leaflet from the local Sylhet Technical School and College and found out about the skills’ training courses. She quickly decided to enrol onto a welding course. Since the course was European Union Skills 21 project funded, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for her to pursue a certified training course and – hopefully - get a job.

The other thing that really appealed to her was the fact that after the training, the Sylhet institute promised to connect all the trainees with local companies to help them secure a job.

“The job placement cell organized an interview session with PRAN-RFL group, one of the largest conglomerates in Bangladesh, for all the graduates who had completed their courses in a different number of occupations,” recalls Taslima. “I was interviewed and selected for a job as a quality checker of welding in a department that makes refrigerators.”

Sylhet is a conservative area in Bangladesh and, at first, Taslima’s family were not willing to let her work in another district. The PRAN factory was in Narshingdi, around 200km away from her home in Sylhet
“I had to overcome this hurdle and to convince my family to let me live and work independently. I earned USD100/ BDT8500 during my probationary period and would spend a small amount for my accommodation and food in the dormitory. Nowadays, I send around USD50 to my parents each month and keep the rest for myself.”

The Human Resource Manager of PRAN-RFL Md. Mahmud said; “We are continuously in need of well-trained and certified skilled workers. As the Sylhet Technical School and College runs a range of competency-based training - that fits our commercial needs – we work closely to recruit their graduates. We recruit from there as we know that the graduates all have NTVQF level 1 qualifications and good skills”.

Taslima joined the factory in January 2020 and worked until March, when the factory was forced to close due to the COVID-19 outbreak. However, Taslima has employment protection and hopes to return to her workplace once the government declares a safe return to work.

Taslima is enjoying the work and now is keen to raise her skill level further and wants to do the level 2 welding course. She is happy that she found the opportunity to get the training and secure a job with PRAN-RFL. “I really do feel blessed. I was able to take a course and now have a job that pays me well and allows me to support my parents and siblings,” she said. “It has literally changed my life and that of my family.”

The ILO’s Skills 21 project is supported by the European Union. Other than Sylhet, the project aims to support developing TVET institutes in Bagerhat, Feni, Jamalpur, Khulna, Rangamati and Gaibandha into model institutes.

For more information, contact

Kishore Kumar Singh
Chief Technical Advisor
Skills 21- Empowering citizens for inclusive and sustainable growth project