press release Creating a Skilled Workforce for Bangladesh

DHAKA, September 7th, 2021 - With the vision to create a skilled workforce and provide easy access to vocational training for youths of Sylhet City Corporation (SCC), Swisscontact Bangladesh’s Uttoron project, funded by Chevron’s Bangladesh Partnership Initiative, recently signed an agreement to establish a training institute in Sylhet.

This Public-Private Partnership (PPP) offers an impetus to achieve the Bangladesh government’s Sustainable Development Goals per the Skills Development Policy 2011. The Uttoron project will be working with SCC to convert existing infrastructure into a training facility. The training facility will have an immediate initial capacity to provide training to 800 youths annually on four industry-demanded trades (electrical installation & maintenance, welding, plumbing pipe fitting, and housekeeping).

The event took place at the Dhaka Westin. The agreement ceremony was graced by the presence of Ariful Haque, the Honorable Mayor of Sylhet City Corporation; Eric M. Walker, President of Chevron Bangladesh; Muhammad Imrul Kabir, Corporate Affairs Director of Chevron Bangladesh; and Mujibul Hasan, Country Director of Swisscontact.

Sylhet City Corporation Mayor Ariful Haque said, “Lack of skilled workers is one of the biggest challenges our country is facing right now. Unfortunately, as a result of this, we are losing business to our competitors. The only way to encounter this is by creating a more skilled workforce, providing appropriate training, and equipping them for the market's ever-changing demands. I believe that by working through this partnership, we will be able to set a new benchmark for successful Public-Private Partnership and be a role model for others”. He expressed his gratitude to Chevron and Swisscontact for making possible such an important initiative.

Chevron Bangladesh’s President, Eric M. Walker said, “The training facility will provide an excellent platform to kick-start the technical and vocational careers of thousands of aspirational youths, bringing about long-term, sustainable improvements for them, and the families that depend on them. Education and job training are of critical importance to help people and communities thrive. The key here is to ensure that Uttoron is sustainable, i.e., by leaving a lasting positive imprint on our communities far beyond the lifespan of the project.”

Swisscontact Bangladesh’s  Country Director, Mujibul Hasan said, “Since its inception, Swisscontact has believed that access to skills, knowledge, markets, technologies and financial services will give people the ability to liberate themselves from the shackles of poverty. The Uttoron project is a prime example of what the Swisscontact believes and wants to uphold.”

Right now, Bangladesh has an economically active population of 63.4 million, and our labour force is growing at a rate of 1.3 million per year. Currently, 60.7 million are employed. So, the presence of unemployment is evident, and the ongoing pandemic has exacerbated  the situation.

Uttoron: Skills for Better Life is a three-year project that Swisscontact is currently implementing in Sylhet and Dhaka divisions and is set to expand its work to Khulna. Apart from establishing a training institute, the project aims to provide vocational training to 2,000 youths and introduce internationally certified, advanced welding training for the first time in Bangladesh. In addition, it has introduced a new trade, Packaging & Finishing Operation, to meet the demands of the packaging industry for the first time in Bangladesh. The trade has already been validated by the National Skills Development Association and approval from the Prime Minister’s Office is currently underway.


A ceremony was recently held at a local hotel to mark the signing of an agreement between Sylhet City Corporation and Swisscontact Bangladesh’s Uttoron project, funded by Chevron’s Bangladesh Partnership Initiative. According to the agreement, a facility will be established to provide training to 800 youths annually on four industry-demanded trades. Pictured here at the ceremony are Ariful Haque, the Honourable Mayor of Sylhet City Corporation (6th from right); President, Chevron Bangladesh, Eric M. Walker (5th from right); Corporate Affairs Director, Chevron Bangladesh, Muhammad Imrul Kabir (4th from right); and Country Director, Swisscontact, Mujibul Hasan (7th from right). Other officials are also seen here.