Karthik Madhavan

About 90 per cent of those who undergo training in the school head for units in Tirupur

The institute established by the association on Chennimalai Road conducts three courses

ERODE: About a year ago the members of Textiles and Garments Exporters’ Association, Erode, were wondering how to solve the problem of labour shortage.

The problem they then faced was the acute shortage of tailors and other skilled personnel like cutting masters, supervisors and merchandisers.

After putting their heads together, they decided to set up a tailoring school to train unemployed youth in tailoring, garment making and fashion creation.

Towards this, they established a well-equipped school, employed teachers and also got help from the district administration, which sent youth through one of the Government programmes.

Today almost after a year, the clock has come a full circle, with the Association members again wondering how to tackle the labour shortage. The reason: those trained from the institute have deserted the association members’ factories and head for Tirupur.

Secretary of the Association S. Sivananthan says the trained work in their members’ factories hardly for a month before leaving for Tirupur, where they get better wages. He puts the difference in pay at 30 per cent. Those who flock to Tirupur are men, who are not only attracted to the salary but also the financial independence and freedom. “By working in and around Erode they are forced to part with a portion of their salary with the family, while in Tirupur they get to spend a major portion all by themselves,” he points out.

As far as the women are concerned, Mr. Sivananthan says after the course most women prefer to remain at houses to take up stitching women’s wear.

The statistics says it all. Of the 1,500 students who have trained at the institute, fewer than 150 work in Erode, which is nearly 10 per cent. He admits that some solution has to be found. The institute on Chennimalai Road conducts three courses- a 50-hour tailoring course, 150-hour garment making course with tailoring included, and a 200-hour dress-making with designing.