Source: Poltava Region News
Yesterday, in Horishni Plavni, the Training & Development Center of the Association of Small and Medium Exporters was officially opened as part of the municipal program on promotion of local products in foreign markets.
The Center was created at the initiative of the Civil Union “Association of Small and Medium Exporters”, with the aim to diversify activities of Horishni Plavni garment manufacturers by reorienting production and retraining staff.
The Training & Development Center will provide retraining for workers engaged in the production of industrial containers called “big bags”, which is a completely new sector for the city’s economy.
“Historically, in our city more than two thousand people have been working in the sector of knitwear and apparel manufacturing. When the Russian market became unavailable, and the foreign markets restricted their volumes, a question arose as to which markets they should look to. Today, there are favourable conditions for Ukrainian commodities producers in EU, Canada, and other European countries. Therefore, we have created the Union joining efforts of all small and medium enterprises, – specifically, they are here, in Horishni Plavni, – for their joint entering new markets. At the same time, there arose a problem – it is today, when people should be employed, whereas our presence at those markets will be tomorrow. That is why we have made a point of how one type of production might be substituted with other direction. For instance, – how to retrain sewing operators having certain experience. We decided that the new direction might be promising in the area of production of big bags, or the so-called soft packing. By the way, in Poltava region, there is no any enterprise to produce such packing, and the region uses such packing up to million items. Therefore, we can see that this implies certain prospects in workforce employment, – Oleksandr Popov, Head of Supervisory Board of Civil Union “Association of Small and Medium Exporters”, said.
He noted that the production-training center, opened with support from PLEDDG Project, is oriented towards re-training of the knitwear production workers to manufacture such packing.
– If a person works as a sewing operator, then it is not difficult to do this, however, still, there are certain nuances both in the technology and in the work itself. We observe development more on the foreign market rather than at the domestic one only, i.e. export. Having analyzed the situation and carried out the preliminary negotiations, we can say that we are having certain export potential next year.
Oleksandr Popov told that after a detailed market research, they were lucky to discover export phase-out. Our enterprises are currently buying such packing from other countries, but they could do it in Ukraine, however it has not been produced in our country yet.
– We want to have this potential, and the things are real. We want to phase out import companies. We would not have created such a center if we had not been PLEDDG-supported. It is our main partner, which financial contribution amounts more than 40 thousand dollars. This money was spent for purchasing equipment, with our contribution making two thirds thereof, – Oleksandr Popov said.
The specialists from the Union are also working, jointly with Ukrainian and foreign experts, over bringing knitwear production of the city’s enterprises in line with the standards of Canadian and EU markets, as well as creating an efficient system of marketing and promotion of products in foreign markets.
Vitaliy Miakinin, manager of the project “Enhancing Export Competitiveness of Horishni Plavni’s SME Products in Foreign Markets by Diversification of Activities of Garment Manufacturers”, said that it was too early to speak of the production outputs, as the training was not yet finished.
– An important component of the soft packing pricing is a tailoring rapidity, which means a necessity to have highly qualified sewing operators. For instance, at large enterprises, which we had visited and where we had carried out the analysis, we saw that a sewing operator was making a big bag for 1 minute, whereas it took 6 minutes for our sewing operators to do the same job. At runtime of the training, a sewing operator shall achieve the 1-minute speed. To this end, we will also modernize sewing machines; this will reduce time for big bag manufacturing and thereby will ensure higher competitiveness at the market of soft packing manufacturing. We strive for training sewing operators for entrepreneurs doing this business to have qualified workers and a viable business in future. Owing to PLEDDG, there have been purchased 4 modern sewing machines, and we are having all the capacities for emergence of new garment industry cluster in our city now.
The opening of the Center was made possible due to financial support from PLEDDG Project, which is implemented in Ukraine by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
– PLEDDG Project supported the project of the Association of Small and Medium Exporters. We allocated the grant in the amount of about 800 thous. UAH for the purchasing of equipment, delivering trainings, and carrying out a market research. The center for manufacturing such produce is really the first one not only in Poltava region but across Ukraine as well. PLEDDG Project provides support for small and medium businesses, and we have an opportunity to make them more efficient and competitive, which will enable them to enter foreign markets. We make efforts, through such target specific projects as this one in Horishni Plavni, to create growth zones and to set an example for others, – Oleksandr Kucherenko, Director of PLEDDG Project, said.
– I have a keen interest in watching you grow. Thank you for such fruitful cooperation. Today’s event is a result of our great job done together. During our cooperation, PLEDDG Project was assisting us in creating the city’s strategic plan, but the most important thing is that we have elaborated the export incentive plan. Today’s event is related to that plan, as we know that textiles is a sector that has good export opportunities. PLEDDG also helped to create the Association of Small and Medium Exporters. Having opened the production training center, we keep cooperating. Thank you and have success, – Kadie Ward said.
Dmytro Bykov, Mayor of Horishni Plavni, said that the opening of the Center was a remarkable event for the city, as it contributed to the improvement of local investment climate. And he thanked all partners for their help.
– The Training & Development Center will manage small and medium entrepreneurs working within the garment industry sector. We are interested in this, as issues regarding the development of small and medium business in Ukraine are often overlooked. It stems from globalization, when corporations have merged the so-called “spots of export supplies”. It is important for us that small and medium business would not only survive but also has an opportunity for growth; however, this requires learning for acquiring new skills.
Process technician of the Center Tetiana Chepurna told us that it is a person’s desire to change and to learn that is the most important thing for working in the garment industry sector.
– I am learning myself now to be able to train others in the future. With every day that passes, I am sewing bags faster and faster. The equipment is very good and completely new. For a shift, we currently sew 70 items each, but we started with 15. We are improving our skills. I like this job, as I see future prospects.