Life and Work in the Factories: an overview of Nicaragua’s training courses
21 September 2016
Managua – Better Work Nicaragua (BWN) programme provides its participating factories with three elementary services: evaluation, advisory and training. The service model of BWN has been modified since its implementation in July 2015, but the training sessions have become a core service to all its factories. When the first training programmes were launched, some of the companies that now collaborate with them were reluctant to engage, due to the investment of time that these courses entail. However, today the demand for training continues to grow considerably. In its first year, BWN trained a little less than 500 workers, currently, the programme provides training to nearly 2000 participants annually.
Since the beginning of its operations, BWN has been developing plans to strengthen the capacity of workers, and those who represent employers from factories. This journey has been developed by Enterprise Advisors and national and international experts.
In Nicaragua, participating factories can choose from many training topics segmented into four main groups:
Life Skills: “The way we lead our lives can directly affect our work,” says Alberto Legall, who serves as Training Officer for Better Work Nicaragua. The training topics that make up the conglomerate life skills range from “Introduction to responsible maternity” to the “Importance of communication”. In this training, BWN emphasises the importance of work in life, and that life itself is most important at work. Training on issues related to HIV prevention and health, such as the Introduction to Diabetes, impact the workforce and society in general. Proper financial management is also a topic that has been highlighted for directly and positively affecting workers and their families.
Emergency Preparedness: The most emblematic topics of this training programme are “Fire Prevention” and “Emergency Drills”. Alberto Legall, explains that this training is highly important because without preparation in these areas, thousands of workers can get hurt or they can even lose their lives in emergency situations. This programme from its inception was supported by the Meritorious Fire Department of Nicaragua.
Monitoring Tools: This seminar of almost 24 hours provides factories supervisors basic development tools for their duties. Communication at the workplace and the qualities of a good leader are notable elements of the training.
Occupational Safety and Health: In Nicaragua and in other countries where the programme Better Work is collaborating, training on issues related to industrial hygiene and safety are considered basic and essential for all workers in the textile industry. The supply and use of protective equipment reduce the risk of accidents and occupational diseases. BWN focuses much of its efforts on awareness presented in two ways, the employer’s responsibility to ensure a healthy work, and worker’s to follow the rules. The properly use and handling of chemicals has improved substantially in the factories since the implementation of the programme.
Currently, more than 8,000 employees and nearly 1,000 supervisors have been trained by BWN in the apparel sector of Nicaragua. Although there are significant positive changes in compliance and working conditions, the collaboration of all stakeholders is always a must.