Brandix Lanka, a top Sri Lankan clothing exporter, has got US aid to train workers in a new factory it has set up in the island’s east which the government is trying to develop after driving out Tamil Tiger rebels.
The US Agency for International Development and Brandix Lanka are working together to train 600 people for employment at the new factory in Batticaloa district, a US embassy statement said.
Under the Apparel Sector Training Partnership, USAID’s grant of 100,000 dollars will provide a monthly stipend and a meal allowance for the workers during eight weeks of pre-training.
Brandix has committed 500,000 dollars to fund all of the training costs, and the monthly stipend during an additional six months of on-the-job training.
“We believe that providing job skills training and giving new workers experience will help people from this conflict-affected area rebuild their lives through steady employment,” said USAID Mission Director Rebecca Cohn.
Graduates of the Apparel Sector Training Partnership program will be eligible for permanent employment with Brandix, the statement said.
“While local average incomes are only 26 dollars per month, graduates will earn at least 85 dollars per month,” it said.
The trained workforce will provide the company with a prepared labour pool with the first group of 70 workers starting training on December 1, 2008.
“Brandix is committed to taking bold action to generate gainful employment in the Eastern province to enable a wider segment of the population to benefit from the growth of the apparel industry,” said Brandix CEO Ashroff Omar.
“We believe it should be the duty of the corporate sector to help reduce the vast disparity in the per capita income of the east in comparison to the rest of the country.”