Taipei, Sept. 10 (CNA) A program offering vocational training for migrant workers in Taiwan was launched in Taipei on Sunday, with the aim of helping foreign workers prepare for life after they return to their home countries.
Some 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 now offering 10-week courses, which are held on Sundays, and awards a certificate on completion of the training.
The classes are currently offered only to Indonesian workers, but will soon be available to Filipinos and Vietnamese, especially those who are due to return to their home country soon.
Karen Hsu (徐瑞希), head of the Global Workers' Organization, Taiwan, said the initiative was motivated by a desire to help female foreign caregivers expand their skill set and improve life opportunities, but is also open to male workers.
Many female foreign caregivers never had the opportunity to receive formal training and are forced to leave their families behind so they can earn money overseas, Hsu told CNA.
"If we give them some training during their stay in Taiwan, they might be able to find employment when they return to their home countries," said Hsu, whose organization provides foreign workers in Taiwan with information and services related to work, education and living.
Hsu said people who complete the training can also start a business or micro business, or partner with Taiwanese businesses in Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.
"It would be a pity if these migrant workers, with their abundant experience in Taiwan and Mandarin-speaking ability, have to go back to their own countries without any job prospects after working 3-4 years on average in Taiwan," she said.
Tari Sutarni, a 39-year-old Indonesian caregiver who has worked in Taiwan for over nine years, was among the workers who enrolled in the baking class on Sunday.
She told CNA that she planned to help out in her family's cornfields when she returned to her hometown in Indonesia's Ponorogo Regency 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, also said the skills learned in the training program could be put to good use in Indonesia.
"We can learn many things here," she said. "We can open a bakery after returning to Indonesia," or share Taiwanese delicacies with friends back home.
"I am very thankful for this class. It is very helpful," said Dwi, 49, who plans to return to Indonesia next year.
[Tari Sutarni (second from the left) and Dwi Tantri(third from the left)]
However, not all migrant workers who wanted to attend the classes were able to do so.
Farid M., 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 in the training program.
These workers could become "bridges to Taiwan" after they return to Indonesia," he said.
The Indonesian government has been actively 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 cities as well.
She urged Taiwanese businesses interesting in tapping the Southeast Asian market to contact her organization to discuss opportunities to cooperate on training programs.