Textiles are a crucial part of our lives and play a key role in many different sectors, such as transportation, construction, and most apparently in fashion and clothing sector. They are also significant for home furnishings, and have huge strides made in creating life-saving inventions such as non-combustible suits, bomb-suits, and artificial skin.
The textile industry continues to be an extremely ever-changing and essential sector of the economy, providing large scope for competent graduates to make their appraisal. It is also essential to exploit other countries’ clothing-related technological knowledge, skills and experience in a specialized area of textile technology and management.
Today, the textile industry renders exciting and profitable career opportunities with ever-increasing demands for skilled manpower. Although the Ethiopian textile industry has been facing a number of challenges due to lack of skilled manpower, there is still a brighter future for sector and people who wish to take a career in the textile industry. The Ethiopian textile sector became as one of the key manufacturing industries prioritized by the Ethiopian government and expected to considerably boost huge productivity in the second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II). The industry were also expected to create about 40,000 new jobs.
Recently, the Ethiopian Textile Industry Development Institute (ETIDI) established twinning agreement with Indian State owned Company called Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT) to acquire a professional service through deploying Indian textile professionals for a period of three years. This may strike a promising point for the economic and social growth of Ethiopia.
In this regard, ETIDI Director General Sileshi Lemma noted that though textile is one of the important commodities that bring considerable export earnings to Ethiopia, the country needs advancing India’s knowledge reserves in chemical engineering and technology. Of course, these Indian professionals will build the technical capability of ETIDI’s staff, and enabling them realize the national vision and aspirations.
According to him, the Indian Chemical Technology Institute is expected to equip and transform the Ethiopian textile manpower to a stage where it should provide competitive support and service to the country’s textile processing industries based on globally best practice standard. It is important to beef up the national textile productivity through empowering adequate local manpower with technologies and technical advice.
Precisely, accelerating the sustainability of Ethiopia’s Textile Industry has a paramount importance in raising its competitiveness, creating employment, and earning foreign currency among others things. Cognizant to the fact the government of Ethiopia has incorporated a strategy to promote textile industry during the second GTP. The strategies designed to promote to generate about a billion USD by the end of GTP II period. Therefore, currently the government is aggressively working to improve, support and expand the textile industry both in the national and foreign markets to win the competitiveness among international markets. To this effect, encouraging the manpower is key to realize the expected benefits from the sector.
Regarding the role of Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT), Prof. Dr. M.D. Teli explained that graduates as well as technicians in factory should have well equipped laboratory to grasp knowledge practically, and to produce quality products for manufacturing industries. So, ICT is well known in extra chemical processing such as dyes, chemicals, and fibres, here Indian professionals will play their role by providing hand holding support to ETIDI technicians. The Institute has also gone further to provide scholarship to nine Ethiopian textile professionals in Mumbai, India.
In sum, although job opportunities in textiles are rare compared to the numerous career paths for other industries, graduates have to acquire the proper skills from university, and show considerable talent, dedication, commitment and motivation in career to boost their livelihoods as well as the national economic growth at large. In addition to the support of foreign institutions, local stakeholders should also play their part in empowering professionals through providing hands-on experience opportunity at factories and other places of work.
The government must also give due attention to enhance the competitiveness and sustainable growth of the textile and garment sector through intensifying the role of effective skill development.