Training of skilled workers and managers for the textile industry

Project description

Title: Establishment of a vocational training centre in Mekelle for skilled workers and managers in the textile sector
Commissioned by: 
German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Ethiopia
H&M Hennes & Mauritz AB,  DBL Group
Total duration: 2018 to 2021



85 per cent of the population in Ethiopia still depend on farming for their livelihoods. The country’s government is increasingly turning to the textile and clothing industry in a bid to reduce the dependence on agriculture. It wants to create 300,000 new jobs in the sector by 2025. Zero-duty imports and the financing of industrial parks in different regions are intended to serve as incentives for foreign investors.

The upturn in the sector has been hampered to date by a lack of technology and infrastructure and, in particular, by an insufficiently qualified workforce. There is a shortage of skilled workers and managers and there is no supply industry either – staff turnover among already established companies is high. These factors are acting as a brake in terms of achieving the desired success.

The Mekelle Industrial Park, which is currently under construction, and neighbouring companies will alone create 30,000 jobs over the next three years. Of this figure, 4,000 posts will be middle management positions and demanding specialist roles.


Well-trained national skilled workers and managers are boosting growth in the Ethiopian textile sector.



Together with the partner companies, the project is developing training courses of an international quality standard and that are highly relevant to the labour market. The plan is to set up a ‘Centre of Excellence for the Textile Industry’ at which prospective specialists and managers will complete training in accordance with international standards. The partner companies will provide the necessary machinery in the DBL premises at the Mekelle Industrial Park and pass on their industry knowledge. The project partners will also develop needs-based training documents for junior and senior management positions but also for skilled workers, such as mechanical engineers and quality experts. The technical training course will last about five weeks and will be run with groups of 25 people. The classroom theory sessions will be accompanied by practical units in the workplace and supported by video technology, with films that demonstrate clearly how to work with modern machinery and equipment. In addition to specialist knowledge, the curriculum will also cover employment law, management training and communication. The aim is to have 2,000 trained specialists and managers by the end of the project. International experts from vocational schools or from the textile industry will train the students taking the courses.

The project will work with the Ethiopian Institute of Science and Technology Mekelle and the Ethiopian Textile Industry Development Institute to roll out the new training scheme throughout the country. The partners will work together to identify the training needs, develop the course content and integrate it into the national curricula for the textile training programmes. In addition to the new theoretical content, the syllabus will also include on-the-job training.