When Fortune Footwear Ltd started its journey in the Barishal BSCIC area in 2012 there was an acute crisis of skilled workers in the region.
To address the skilled labour shortage and maintain smooth production, the owner of the factory started to find village women – who had no access to financial activities – and train them on shoe manufacturing.
And Fortune Footwear has so far trained around 4,000 unskilled village women, with a little or no academic background, and employed them at the company.
The women, who had no income before, are currently earning a handsome amount, working in the three factories of Fortune Footwear in the BSCIC area. Many of the trained female workers have even switched to other companies in major cities after getting better opportunities.
"The women working in my company were very simple and were just involved in household chores," said Mizanur Rahman, chairman of Fortune Footwear.
"I picked them up from different villages in eight upazilas of Barishal and Jhalakathi," he added.
The company has provided special bus services for easy transportation of the workers. The buses bring them to the factories from their upazilas early in the morning and drop them after work in the evening.
A worker gets Tk6,000 as a monthly salary during the training period. Once the training is over, their salary is raised to Tk10,000, said Mizan, adding that many experienced workers are now getting a monthly salary of Tk50,000 or even more.
Sabina Akter, who works at the company, said, "I am not educated enough and therefore never thought of getting a job, but the company offered me a job with a good salary. They first trained us for the job."
"I can now support my family financially which was beyond my imagination earlier," said another worker named Rubi Aktar.
"We do not have to do hard labour as most of the work is done by machines automatically. We just have to operate the machines properly," said worker Sultana.
"Many female workers who got training in our company and developed their skills have got jobs at other companies in Dhaka and Chattogram at high salaries," said Fortune chairman Mizan.
The company has three large factories in Barishal and all the factories provide a congenial atmosphere for work, according to employees of the company.
The workers here enjoy all their rights, which inspires them to work dedicatedly, the chairman added.
"I always try my best to ensure all facilities for the workers as I believe workers are the main force behind my business," said Mizan.