This sub-component will develop the foundational skills of 20,000 ITES professionals in a way that is closely aligned with the requirements of global markets, and provide training grants to companies meeting a minimum set of skills development and hiring criteria, and support the GOB’s existing National ICT Internship Program administered by BCC. Foundational work skills are fundamental to creating a competitive ITES labor force as these are necessary for virtually all its sub-segments, including BPO and micro-work. These skills address areas such as cultural sensitization, basic PC and data skills, interpersonal communication, and a good professional attitude in general. The advantage of the alignment with global markets approach is that it would create a talent pool that can cater to the requirements of the global industry, besides helping to enhance the quality of the workforce for a range of domestic sectors. It is proposed to closely integrate assessment and training so that results can be achieved faster, and training activities can be more tightly coupled with individual needs.
An anchor institution could be competitively identified to house the program. The anchor institution could then partner with leading international companies to train trainers, and provide a quality assurance process for both the trainers and students subsequently trained by them. This would ensure that the training program is consistent with the needs of the global market, besides creating a talent pool that would make it easier to attract investments by the companies associated with the program.In addition, this sub-component will provide training grants to ITES companies. In interactions with local companies, it was found that it was possible to rapidly ramp up the number of jobs in the BPO sector, in case a training program was put in place to address the skills gap. Hence, the grant program is expected to help companies in Bangladesh’s ITES/BPO sectors to quickly expand employment and address opportunities in the global markets. This would also provide flexibility to local companies to devise their own training programs for interns. The training grants would be provided to companies expanding existing operations, and starting new ones. This grant will be applicable to local companies that have immediate demands for skilled employees (around 4000 HR); such as those in graphics, animation and call centers. It would also be applicable to international companies setting up offices in Bangladesh, which would need immediate and customized skills from local companies that have a developed training program.
The training grant will complement the GOB’s existing National ICT Internship Program as it will support training from a company perspective; and the design and operations of the training grant program will take guidance from similar initiatives being implemented in other countries. This grant will enable the recruiting companies to provide essential computing equipments such as laptop, computer etc to the new knowledge workers for establishing work environment. This will enable the trained workforce to acquire industry experience to become world class knowledge worker. The training grant will also be designed to have a two-level structure, in order to support the short-term and quick-win needs of the industry, and support the ITES skills requirement over the remaining project period. In order to promote social inclusion in the industry, the grant will also be designed to provide higher incentives to companies to train women, and disabled and indigenous Bangladeshis. An operational manual will be developed by BCC and approved by the Bank within six months of the project implementation start date. The manual will provide details on the training grant program, eligibility criteria, qualifying criteria, grant calculation, disbursement plan, and application procedure and monitoring.