Our impact, Their voices

Recognition of skills transformed Shahadat’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 | 18 July 2022
Shahadat in the training session at Feni Polytechnic Institute
I am Md. Nur Shahadat Khan. I live in Malipur in Feni (a southern district of Bangladesh). After studying up to eighth grade in madrasah education, I could not continue my studies due to financial reasons. I have my wife, mother, two sisters and younger brother in my family and they are dependent on my income. My father died three years ago; he was a professional driver. But he hadn’t any savings.

Now Shahadat has his own enterprise
When I had to stop my studies, I started working as a plumber. When I started this job about thirteen years ago, my daily wage was BDT 30 (less than half US$ 0.5) with a commuting expenditure. Thirteen years later, now my daily wage is BDT 500 (US$ 6). I trained myself in this profession by doing pipe fitting and plumbing work with different contractors.

I have been working on plumbing pipe fittings for residential and official purpose for thirteen years. I became efficient over the years. But there was no formal recognition of my skills. In the meantime, I learned in the news that there was a campaign going on about technical education. Then a leaflet from the Feni Polytechnic Institute came to hand and I found out that there was a short course on plumbing and pipe fitting there being supported by the ILO’s Skills 21 project and the EU.

Shahadat in the training session
Although the course was short, it was very useful, and the certificate is valuable. Since I had no formal skills recognition, I was very interested in this training. I learned a lot while doing the training, especially how it is very important to learn how to do things according to industrial standards. These I did not know. I didn't even know the exact name of many of my tools. I did not know for example, that the work must be done using proper security equipment.

Shahadat is working with his helping hands
After completing this training, I now work as a contractor myself. When I started my career as a contractor, I recruited three teenagers aged 14-18 years old. They are also learning about the plumbers’ job by working under my supervision. Among them one is a permanent staff and the other two are apprentices. I also want to send them to such trainings at the institute to make them more proficient and help them to get properly certified.

Before doing this training, I used to earn BDT 15-16,000 (US$ 200) per month. But now my monthly income has increased to BDT 30,000 (US$ 350). My income increased because now I can work as a contractor. The people I work for referred me to others. And my number is also given to the clients from various sanitary and hardware stores.

Shahadat is paying to his staff
I have no free time now; I always have some work on. I want to do the job very efficiently. That’s why I have been training the young champs to learn these skills as well and get them involved in the world of work. No one can achieve success without learning skills. If you have specific technical skills the world of work is open for anyone.