Environment/Ecosystem | HR & Education

The Sustainable Textiles Industry Needs to Improve Its Skills

Published: March 21, 2023

(Lubbock, USA, March 20, 2023)–Textile sector is taking sustainability seriously towards its growth.

On March 17, 2023 at wee hours (2 AM USA-CST), I delivered remarks virtually in the invited panel discussion on the “Skilled Workforce for Sustainable Growth,” organized as part of 3rd Global Textile Conclave conducted by the Confederation of Indian Textile Industry (CITI) in Jaipur, India.

I articulated the need for 3Ps for sustainable growth and skill development. The 3Ps are: 1) People; 2) Planning and 3) Progress. The industry must adopt 4S towards training the next-generation workforce. The 4s are: 1) Sensing the need of the industry; 2) Shaping the field; 2) Shielding and building resources and 4) Sustaining the sector and then growing. As India expects to have a textile market size of US$350 billion in the next few years, training skilled workforce is critically important.

The talk on 3Ps and 4S is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ze-zxTQ7VY

Emphasizing the need for nationally recognized training modules, the training program developed by India’s Textile Sector Skill Council (TSC) will be more valuable to SMEs who may not have inhouse training centers, stated Dr. J. V. Rao, Advisor for the Council.

Private sector needs to take the lead in such skill development initiatives with support from the government. In United States, States have programs such as the Skill Development Fund of Texas that enable industry to take a lead in creating public-private partnerships to tackle skill gaps faced by the industry.

In addition to technical skill gaps, industry and skill councils need to focus on soft skills enhancement, safety, and ethics training. Ms. Bia Cunha of the International Labor Organization emphasized the importance of linkages with the private sector and the need to enhance digital skills in the industry.

Skill councils also have to focus on outreach and awareness activities on critical issues facing the textile value chain such as plastic contamination in cotton, enhancing the yield and quality of cotton in countries like India. Enhancing awareness also involves working with stakeholders to train the workforce in the industry to be aware of pressing issues and finding solutions to problems such as contamination in farms and cotton ginning industry.

“India’s Textile Sector Skill Council is developing standardized educational modules which are recognized by the industry,” stated Dr. Swapna Mishra, Chief Operating Officer of the Council. Since its inception in 2014, over 350,000 people have gone through various training programs, which are well received by the industry, added Dr. Mishra.

Skill enhancement, awareness and outreach initiatives are needed globally for the sustainability side of the fiber-fashion value chain. The industry must take lead in this initiative with help from workforce development organizations to prepare the workforce for the advanced and sustainable textiles sector.

Article By: Seshadri Ramkumar, Professor, Texas Tech University, USA

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