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Skills training proved to be a transformative experience for Rozen

The EU-funded Skills 21 project is making a real difference to the lives of young women and men in Bangladesh.

Feature | Dhaka, Bangladesh | 09 August 2023
Rozen Patro in his classroom at Sylhet Technical School and College. © ILO
DHAKA (ILO News) – Skills training breathed new life into Rozen's existence, offering hope, growth, and a pathway to success. It exemplifies the remarkable transformation that skills development can bring to individuals, empowering them to reach their full potential and embrace a brighter, more fulfilling life.

Prior to the training, Rozen's life was filled with challenges and limited opportunities. However, after enrolling in a skills development programme supported by ILO’s Skills 21 project, funded by the European Union, everything changed. The training equipped Rozen with essential competencies and knowledge in a specific field, opening doors to new possibilities and a brighter future like other 6,000 young people in Bangladesh.

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:

‘My name is Sherry Rosendro Patro, and I live in Sylhet, located in the eastern part of Bangladesh. My father, Sherry Ashin Patro, worked as a day labourer to support our family. I am the fourth child among five siblings. Due to financial constraints, I had to discontinue my studies after completing the Higher Secondary Certificate examination. As a result, I faced unemployment for quite some time.’

‘In 2019, I came across an announcement from Sylhet Technical School and College offering free technical skills development training in various professions. They also promised assistance in finding a job after completing the training. Encouraged by this opportunity, I enrolled in the Electrical Installation and Maintenance course along with a friend. The four-month course, which included industrial training, enabled me to pass the assessment examination for NTVQF Level-1, earning me a certificate.’

‘The training was well-tailored to meet industry demands, focusing on competency-based training and assessment. I acquired all the necessary skills required by the industry, thanks to the top-notch equipment, curriculum, and supportive trainers. The career guidance support and counselling provided during the training proved invaluable. I learned essential aspects like CV writing, job searching, and interview preparation. The career guidance officer also enlightened me about potential opportunities for further skills upgrading.’

‘ Soon after completing the training, I was given the opportunity to attend a job interview arranged by the Career Guidance and Job Placement Cell of Sylhet TSC. Pran-RFL, one of the largest conglomerates in Bangladesh, was invited to conduct the interviews. I was among the 33 individuals selected for jobs, and on 31st December 2019, I joined Pran-RFL's Danga Industrial Park in Narsingdi, near Dhaka, as an Assistant Operator. The job offered a salary of BDT 8,500 for 12 hours of daily duty, including living accommodations and meals. However, I had to leave the job after a few days when my father passed away, feeling the need to be with my family during that difficult time.’

‘In hindsight, I realized that leaving my job was a mistake. After a few months, I understood the value of the opportunity I had received. I reconnected with the job placement cell of Sylhet TSC, and they helped me secure another job at Pran-RFL based on my previous work experience and skills. In November 2020, I started working at their factory in Habiganj Industrial Park, near Sylhet, as an operator. My current salary is BDT 10,000, along with other facilities similar to my previous placement.’

‘With my father no longer around, I have taken up the responsibility of supporting my family, and I aspire to earn more in the future by further developing my skills. The skills I acquired through the Technical School and College and my industry experience have been recognized, allowing me to improve my job position. Despite coming from the lesser-known 'Patro' community among the diverse indigenous peoples of the Sylhet region, I had equal access to technical education and training, proving that anyone can change their life by acquiring technical skills. I encourage others to pursue technical education and unlock their potential for a brighter future.’