GMAC launches construction of its new training center at Phnom Penh SEZ

Cambodia’s Garment Manufacturer Association, representing the largest industry in the Kingdom, is building a training institute for garment industry workers at Phnom Penh SEZ.

Phnom Penh, 3rd September 2015 - The institute will be completed by the end of 2016 and aims at providing training to strengthen and enhance the expertise of Cambodian garment industry workers.

The ground-breaking ceremony was attended by Mr. Sok Sopheak, Director General at the Ministry of Commerce’s international trade department, and Mr. Pich Sophoan, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training.

Mr. VAN Sou Ieng, President of GMAC, set the tone for the project in his welcoming speech:

"Today marks an important milestone for the Cambodian garment industry as we are building the first training center dedicated to our industry, helping to further develop the human resources here in Cambodia. The idea to create this institute was first mooted in 2007 - we are finally able to bring this project to fruition today!"

The construction is co-financed by GMAC and the Agence française de développement (AFD), who have recently given a $3 million loan towards the project. Mr. Muong Sideth, representative of AFD Cambodia also took to the podium to highlight the importance of the project in creating a more skilled and therefore brighter future for Cambodia's garment industry:

"As in previous years, the garment sector is still a potential sector contributing to the economic growth of the country. Cambodia’s garment and footwear sector has continued to perform solidly, with exports growing by 10.6 per cent over the year to the first quarter of 2015. […] However, a lack of solid training methods and insufficient management information systems lead to a lack of workers’ skills, especially at the middle management level. This remains a challenge for Cambodia’s Garment sector to compete within the Asian Economic Community."

The Cambodia Garment Training Institute (CGTI) will help train Cambodian workers from the basic sewing operator to the higher level specialists, such as merchandisers and pattern makers. GMAC and its President believe that this will help meet human resource needs of garment and footwear factories while also reducing the dependency on foreign labor for management positions and other specific functions.

Currently, about 700,000 people are employed in the in the Cambodian garment industry. 8,000 positions are occupied by expatriates and the aim is to replace these by a highly skilled local workforce. That number should be trained within around five years.

Long-term training will start with 240 young professionals while the skills of a further 1 600 employees per year are continuously improved through ongoing training. CGTI will be a recognized, Private Accredited Training Institute (by the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, MLVT) and issued diplomas will be certified by the MLVT. Short courses will be certified by CGTI/GMAC.

With the Garment sector being the linchpin of the nation’s economy representing 70% of Cambodian exports, this initiative highlights the ambition of Phnom Penh SEZ to achieve highest standards of operations with which to compete on the international stage. “We are delighted to have this training institute right in the middle of our SEZ. It will fundamentally change the way many garment factories operate, it will cut cost for expatriate advisors and contribute to higher value production in Cambodia. This is exactly where we fit in as GMAC’s partner, as Phnom Penh SEZ continues to lead the industrial transformation of Cambodia”, says Hiroshi Uematsu, CEO of the SEZ.

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