ILO-Canada and the Government of Bangladesh start ProGRESS project to build the foundation for an inclusive skills system

Press release | 19 March 2023
The ProGRESS project team   © ILO
ILO Dhaka News- This evening ILO Bangladesh and the Ministry of Education launched a new project named ‘ProGRESS’ whose aim is to strengthen the TVET and enterprise development ecosystems, to make these more inclusive and accessible for women and disadvantaged groups - by working on policies, systems, and operational levels. ProGRESS stands for ‘Promoting Gender-Responsive Enterprise Development and TVET Systems’.

The Project will be implemented by the Directorate of Technical Education (DTE), under the TMED of the Ministry of Education, in close collaboration with relevant line agencies and with technical assistance from ILO. The Government of Canada is the funding partner.

Speaking at the launch, the honourable Minister of Education Dr. Dipu Moni M.P. said, ’An effective TVET and Skills development system can help the students acquire the right skills sets to productively enter and participate in the labour market either for wage or self-employment. The Progress project aims to help expand the access of women, youth, persons with disability and ethnic communities to market-relevant skills development and inclusive and green employment opportunities by working with TVET institutes and employers. These will make valuable impact on the government’s program towards achieving gender equality in Bangladesh which eventually reduce poverty.’

The Project is designed to positively address the issues linked to low labour force participation of female workers both in wage and employment markets; and limited access to business development services required for initiating self-employment. It will also support the promotion of employability of the female workforce of Bangladesh to improve their economic wellbeing and maximise their contribution to the national economic growth through strategic improvement in TVET and enterprise development systems, to transform them become more inclusive and accessible for women by gender mainstreaming policy advocacy, enterprise development and skills training.

The High Commissioner of Canada in Bangladesh H.E. Lilly Nicholls said, ‘The ProGRESS project is designed to help address major challenges and barriers that disproportionately hinder female labour force of Bangladesh from equitably and productively participating in the labour market in a sustainable and resilient manner’.

Through innovative and accessible training systems, young men and women entering the labour market will be able to compete in a wider range of occupations in growth sectors. By strengthening the ecosystems for business development more women and entrepreneurs will be able to improve their businesses and generate the much-needed quality jobs. The project aims to increase the number of women in Bangladesh employed in decent work, particularly green jobs.

Speaking at the event, ILO Country Director for Bangladesh Tuomo Poutiainen said, ‘ILO is supporting the Government of Bangladesh to implement the 4th Decent Work Country Programme 2022-26 where one of the important priorities is gender equality and ending gender-based violence: empowering women and girls. ProGRESS project will address the DWCP’s major pillars - inclusive, decent employment creation and ending gender-based violence.’

The total budget for the initiative is 20 million CAD. The ILO and the Directorate of Technical Education will work closely to implement the project for the period of five years starting from Year 2022 in collaboration with the National Skill Development Authority under the Prime Minister's Office, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts, Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment, Ministry of Youth and Sports, SME Foundation and Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) along with employers' and workers' organizations.

Also taking part in the event were Senior Secretary TMED Md. Kamal Hossain, Director General of DTE Md. Omar Faruque and representatives from Economic Relation Division’s UN Wing, various government agencies, employers and workers organizations and development partners