Textiles and Apparel is one of Tunisia’s most important sectors, accounting for more than $ 1 billion in exports, making up just over 7% of the country’s total exports, and employing approximately 160,000 workers nationwide. The sector is labor-intensive and employs predominantly women, making it an important sector for growing women’s participation in the workforce.
JOBS’ Vision and Strategy
JOBS is supporting SMEs working in the textile and apparel sector to help them grow by (1) enhancing technical and soft skills of Tunisian operators and managers, (2) helping companies transition from sub-contracting business models to producing finished, higher-end products for international buyers, (3) helping SMEs to export and enter new markets, and (4) supporting textile companies to become attractive, near-shore alternatives to Asian competitors, especially in the post-COVID recovery period. JOBS works with individual textile and apparel companies, as well as textile groups, value chains, and regional clusters.
To date, JOBS has partnered with 124 companies in the sector, with more than 30% of our partners located in underserved regions and more than 40% of our partners based in the Sahel (Sousse, Monastir, and Mahdia), Tunisia’s textile hub with the largest concentration of textile manufacturers. More than 60% of our efforts in the sector aim to help partners source candidates for vacant positions, followed by pre-employment trainings, lean manufacturing, and certifications.
Developing a better and more effective workforce
JOBS is helping companies to implement pre-employment trainings for new recruits in sewing skills or specific skills related to technically complex items with a better added value (e.g., coats and jackets, workwear, technical clothing, and delicate lingerie). JOBS is also supporting companies to develop a better working environment by providing soft skills and management trainings for managers.
Supporting apparel manufacturers to improve quality and efficiency
JOBS supports SMEs that make value added and/or specialized products like coated textiles, medical apparel, leather goods and medical masks or gowns made from non-woven fabrics. These businesses require more specialized labor and equipment. Our support includes implementing lean manufacturing tools, optimizing production processes, improving supply chain management, and complying with industry-specific standards.
Helping companies increase product value
Most apparel manufacturers in Tunisia source to international manufacturers with well-known brands. Our work aims to help companies optimize costs, thereby increasing profits, permitting firms to grow and hire more workers, through improvements in product quality, efficiency, and compliance with international standards and to optimize workflows to reduce production delays. Many Tunisian manufacturers perform low value-added tasks like cutting, washing, dyeing, and sewing ready-to-wear apparel. In these cases, JOBS helps these companies to implement international standards and secure new clients that will permit our partners to sell directly to end customers.
- Provided assistance to 168 technical textile and apparel companies
- Helped create approximately 8,775 jobs in partner firms
- Facilitated sales increases exceeding +$58 million
- Awarded COVID-19 emergency grants to textile companies, Consomed, Medika Hitex, and Medicoset, to produce critical goods to fight the pandemic, including medical masks, sterile gowns, and other personal protective wear
- Awarded COVID-19 recovery grants benefitting 26 textile and apparel-manufacturing companies (grantees and beneficiaries) to sustain more than 594 jobs, create 29 jobs and aid their recovery from the economic impact of the pandemic
- Launched a pilot collaboration with the Tunisian Textile Federation (FTTH) in Nabeul to assist 6 FTTH affiliated companies to implement training for middle managers in team management, recruitment, and pre-employment trainings for new staff, leading to 300 jobs created. The success of this action has led the FTTH to duplicate the training in other regions, such as Sfax