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s.Oliver & Save the Children launch 'Work2Learn Advanced'
Dec '11
The international fashion and lifestyle brand s.Oliver and the child rights organization Save the Children have launched “Work2learn Advanced”, a project to support disadvantaged workers in Bangladesh. The collaboration aims at vocational training of working teenagers. It enables them to find appropriate employment in the garment industry and to overcome the vicious circle of poverty and insufficient education.

In Bangladesh, the wages of working teenagers often earn the biggest part of their whole family´s income. For that reason, the project enables them to continue their work and support their relatives. Once earning better wages, they can also prevent their own offspring from staying child laborers. “Work2Learn Advanced” serves to develop the infrastructure of vocational training and specifically schools workers in various printing techniques. In Bangladesh textile production today stands out as the most important manufacturing sector in terms of generating export income and employment. Printing experts are sin great demand.

“We are proud to launch „Work2learn Advanced? with Save the Children”, states s.Oliver Managing Director Thorsten Grönlund. “This collaboration creates a win-win situation. It enables young workers to acquire specialized skills and succeed in the textile work force while earning better wages. At the same time the industry profits from skilled workers and becomes a solid resource for printing techniques.”

“We are striving to change working conditions for the young adolescents. We want to make remarkable changes in the working conditions for the participants in Bangladesh”, explains Kathrin Wieland, Managing Director Save the Children, e.V. “s.Oliver wanted to take on responsibility for its workers and approached Save the Children. The company takes its commitment very seriously and supports the project as well financially as with its expertise.” Save the Children aims to involve s.Oliver?s suppliers through internships under safe working conditions. All participants accept their social responsibility, initiating a new kind of development aid and corporate partnership with an NGO.

The joint experience of the fashion company and the non-profit organization ensures a good foundation for the program, including monitoring to ensure fair working conditions. “Work2learn Advanced” is based on realistic requirements existing in the garment industry. The program consists of six months basic training, followed by one year of vocational training and a three to six months internship at an s.Oliver supplier. At the end of the program workers ideally are recruited by s.Oliver suppliers once turning 18. During the first year running the project approximately 40 adolescents will be trained in Dhaka.

The project is lead by Save the Children and realized in partnership with the local NGO “UCEP” (Underprivileged Children?s Education Programs). The teachers are employed via UCEP and receive continuous training by s.Oliver agency printing experts. The project is jointly monitored by s.Oliver, UCEP and Save the Children. Working conditions in the vocational training centre are safeguarded. Supplier middle management are continually coached in social standards. Students will work under safe and appropriate conditions in so called “safe training zones”. These zones are monitored and visited regularly. Management of the facilities is involved in the process. Besides the statutory provisions additional guidelines exist.

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