The Cambodian Garment Training Institute (CGTI) has been providing intensive training programmes to local garment workers since 2016, when it was created by the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC). Khmer Times’ May Kunmakara sits down with Andrew Tey, the director of the centre, to discuss the achievements of CGTI since its launch as well as the challenges it now faces.
KT: It has been more than two years since your centre was launched. What has been achieved so far and what challenges have you faced?
Mr Tey: We have been doing fine. More and more people are getting to know us and use our services.
The biggest challenge right now is getting students from the training and placement programmes to work in the industry. GMAC is always requesting more workers, but we are sometimes unable to supply the professionals they need, such as merchandisers and quality assurance and industrial engineering professionals.
This year we are pushing for more events with the National Employment Agency to increase awareness among high school students of the opportunities available through vocational training.
KT: Is CGTI popular among factory owners. Are many factories sending workers to your centre for training?
Mr Tey: Last year we trained 1,794 factory workers. A lot of factories want their workers to train with us because they are starting to understand the importance of capacity development. A lot of factories are asking us to help them implement lean manufacturing and ‘kaizen’ principles to improve the work environment and productivity.
KT: The garment industry is facing a number of domestic and international challenges, such as the increasing minimum wage or the European Union’s revision of the country’s Everything-but-arms scheme. How can you help the industry overcome these difficulties?
Mr Tey: A lot of factories are now interested on leadership building and industrial engineering programmes to enhance their productivity. With all these challenges, the best thing they can do is to focus on productivity, and that’s exactly what we can help them with.
KT: The term Industrial Revolution 4.0 is now being widely discussed by experts and academics. How can your centre help the garment sector prepare for the next industrial revolution?
Mr Tey: To help factories face Industry 4.0 we have a new training programme. The ‘Sewing operator training programme for apparel and footwear’ will train workers on the soft and technical skills they need before they start work at the factory. This programme has been developed in partnership with the government with the aim of upskilling workers and enhancing productivity.
KT: The Ministry of Economy of Finance has $5 million to invest in developing the nation’s workforce through the Skill Development Fund (SDF). Do you plan to request money from this fund? Where would that money go?
Mr Tey: We did submit a request for funds for our training and placement programme but we still haven’t heard back.
KT: What are your plans for the rest of 2019 and upcoming years?
Mr Tey: This year we also want to focus on training on soft skills for companies outside the garment sector, particularly restaurants and hotels.