Furniture houses face shortage of skilled workers
The ministry of labour and human resources called for a meeting with furniture making stakeholders in Thimphu last Tuesday.
The meeting saw furniture making agencies and the ministry coming together to establish strong linkages between the furniture making houses and the ministry. The ministry of labour and human resources, Lyonpo Ngeema Sangay Tshempo said that the meeting was mainly to study the employment prospect in the furniture making houses, to study the types of skills required by the furniture making houses and to study and draw training programs as per the requirement of the furniture making houses.
The furniture industry seems to be employing less Bhutanese workers compared to other industry in Bhutan. It is observed that most of the furniture making houses takes in non national workers as it is found very less number of skilled Bhutanese who could actually make furniture. In an average each furniture house employs 6 persons.
Lyonpo added that youths should undergo trainings and become skilled in order to be employed today. He shared his concerns over growing number of foreign workers being recruited in furniture making houses.
‘’On one hand our youths are unemployed and on the other we have foreign recruits which should be something we all should think about it,’’ said the minister. He also told the furniture making agencies that it is important that the ministry and the stakeholders work closely to reach a proper conclusion. He also said that the ministry could always support the agencies by providing trainings and all.
According to the ministry, there are a total of 252 licensed furniture making houses in the country. However, there are no furniture houses in Gasa, Trongsa and Lhuentse dzongkhags. Paro Dzongkhag has the highest number of furniture houses (52) in the country followed by Thimphu(47) and Chhukha (47). Nevertheless, Thimphu has the highest number of functional furniture house (85) followed by Paro and Chhukha with (73) and (40) respectively.
A survey conducted by the Department of Labour, under the Ministry of Labour and Human Resourses in 2015 revealed that out of 903 workers, 485 were Bhutanese and 418 were foreign workers. The minister said that these findings were quite a thing to worry.
The findings further revealed that the fur- niture making houses required an additional manpower of 486. Out of 252 furniture houses in the country, it was found out that only 183 are operational and 69 are non operational.
The ministry however said that they are looking forward to helps agencies recruit Bhutanese skilled workers which would not only help in youths getting employed but also furniture making houses to have people to work for.
Currently, there are only two institutes in the country which house trainees for furniture making, one in Chumey in Bumthang and the other in Rangjung in Trashigang.