Workers prepare for life back home

‘BRIDGES TO TAIWAN’::The initiative was motivated by a desire to help female foreign caregivers expand their skill set and improve their opportunities in life

Staff writer, with CNA

Tue, Sep 12, 2017 - Page 4

A program offering vocational training for migrant workers was launched in Taipei on Sunday, with the aim of helping foreign workers prepare for life after they return to their home nations.

About 30 Indonesian migrant workers attended a baking course, while 15 others attended an e-commerce course at Kainan High School of Commerce and Industry on the first day of the program.

The Global Workers’ Upskill Center program, launched by the Global Workers’ Organization, Taiwan, is offering 10-week courses, which are held on Sundays, and awards a certificate upon completion of the training.

The classes are only being offered to Indonesian workers, but there are plans to also make them available to Philippine and Vietnamese workers, especially those who are due to soon return to their home nation.

Global Workers’ Organization, Taiwan head Karen Hsu (徐瑞希) said the initiative was motivated by a desire to help female foreign caregivers expand their skill set and improve their opportunities in life, but that it is also open to male workers.

Many female foreign caregivers have never had the opportunity to receive formal training and are forced to leave their families behind so they can earn money overseas, Hsu said.

“If we give them some training during their stay in Taiwan, they might be able to find employment when they return to their home nation,” said Hsu, whose organization provides foreign workers with information and services related to work, education and living.

Those who complete the training could also start a business or partner with Taiwanese businesses in Indonesia, Vietnam or the Philippines, Hsu said.

“It would be a pity if these migrant workers, with their abundant experience of Taiwan and their Mandarin-speaking ability, have to go back to their own nations without any job prospects after working three to four years in Taiwan,” she said.

Tari Sutarni, a 39-year-old Indonesian caregiver who has worked in Taiwan for more than nine years, was among the workers who enrolled in the baking class on Sunday.

She said she plans to help out in her family’s corn fields when she returns to her hometown in Indonesia next year.

With baking and pastry skills, she said, she would be able to make and sell cakes in her spare time.

Dwi Tantri, an Indonesian caregiver who has worked in Taiwan for seven years, said the skills learned in the training program could be put to good use in Indonesia.

“We can learn many things here,” Tantri said.

“We can open a bakery after returning to Indonesia, or share Taiwanese delicacies with our friends. I am very thankful for this class. It is very helpful,” said the 49-year-old, who plans to return to Indonesia next year.

However, not all the migrant workers who wanted to attend the classes were able to do so.

Farid, a promoter of the Indonesian government’s Exit Program in Taiwan, said that some employers would not allow their workers to attend.

He called on Taiwanese employers to learn more about the program and allow their workers to take part. These workers could become “bridges to Taiwan” after they return to Indonesia, he said.

The Indonesian government has been promoting “exit programs,” or professional training programs, to help returning migrant workers make the transition to skilled jobs.

Hsu said her organization is planning to offer more courses, including online programs, and to extend the training to Taichung and Taoyuan.

She urged Taiwanese businesses interested in tapping the Southeast Asian market to contact her organization to discuss opportunities and to cooperate on training programs.