BWI-FES Regional Seminar
Vocational Training in Construction
13-14 September 2007 Kathmandu,
The construction industry has witnessed
tremendous growth over the last few years across the world. This
rapid growth, however, is not at par with the training needs of
the industry and workers. Thereby, a large workforce is being
added on to the list of under and untrained and in the future
might make them part of a very large redundant workforce.
In Asian-Pacific region also construction
sector is booming and the challenge therefore is to improve
the skills of the workers to make them competent for the global
market. New technologies are coming up and not backed up by
adequate training and also mentioned that certification should
be globally recognized thereby enabling employability at a global
The unions have also to modernize both services
and organizational structures to make them relevant for the
workers working in both home countries as well as abroad and
brining substantial remittances to contribute to their home
economies and social development. Only with the combined strength
of affiliates the BWI expects to beef up its solidarity, more
concrete actions and responsive structures and strong networks.
With these issues in mind Building and Wood Workers International
(BWI) and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) organized a joint training
to enable the unions and workers to address their challenges.
Objectives of the Training
- Review the working conditions of workers
in construction industry,
- Share the experience and good practices
of each other,
- Identify areas of training needs and skills
- Discuss the suitability of various types
of vocational training and union aids.
There were altogether 93 participants including
20 women across BWI Affiliates in the Asia/Pacific Region.
Anita Normark, Antonio Asper, Shim Gyu Beom, Baik Seok Keun
(South Korean Case), Shikha Jshi and Romila Parmar (SEWA's case
study from India), Valentina Manurung (Aceh Program), Sharan
KC (Mekong Region), Ambet Yuson and Klaus Wiesehugel.
The training methodology involved lecture
presentation, questions and answers, case study, group discussion,
recapitulation and presentation of group reports.
International and regional overview of the
conditions of construction workers, vocational training and
skill requirements, best practices and models of vocational
training (union-led, bilateral, and tripartite), understanding
of the different types of vocational training and skill development
programs, union's role in vocational training, and experience
of Germany in skills training in construction industry.
Participants found the program very
useful and agreed that a) affiliates should further continue
to exchange experiences among themselves; b) BWI to render technical
support wherever possible and c) the Project Coordinators in
the region shall assist unions in developing strategies for
effective imparting of vocational training.
The BWI President, Klaus Wiesehugel
sharing the experiences from Germany stressed that a holistic
approach towards vocational training was important. This required
considerable focus on both theoretical and practical aspects
of vocational education. Therefore, it is necessary that a cohesive
approach combining government initiatives to provide classroom
education and backed by the industry to provide practical skills
training in the factories should be evolved. He underlined that
financing is obviously a big challenge but an agreeable mechanism
to fund such initiatives could be discussed through tripartite
dialogue between the government, industry and the trade unions.
The training called for assessment of
skills of workers and fining ways to provide vocational training
on a regular basis, initiate immediate dialogue with the Construction
Industry Federations and government training institutes for
starting need-base training programs, include health and safety
standards as a part of skill-training programs, increase unions'
cooperation with migrant workers and the government to provide
resources on the issue of skills certification and take appropriate
steps to make employability free from geographical barriers,