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New Master’s Program Targets Women in Bangladesh Garment Sector

The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) and the Asian University for Women (AUW) launched a new program that will help women in Bangladesh acquire the skills needed to land management roles in the fashion industry.

The HSBC-AUW School of Apparel and Retail Management offers a one-year program providing training and education in supply chain and brand management, fashion business, merchandising, and occupational health and safety. The curriculum is designed to provide a foundation for employees of Bangladesh’s growing apparel sector to secure high-influence positions within the industry. Former dean of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University Dr. Dipak Jain will chair an academic committee that guides the philanthropically funded program.

“Today, the apparel industry in Bangladesh needs a homegrown talent pool, which will serve the needs of the sector,” Dr. Rubana Huq, vice chancellor of the Asian University for Women, said Monday. The ready-made garment (RMG) sector is the largest industry in Bangladesh, representing more than 80 percent of its total export revenue. Four million workers—over 65 percent of whom are women—toil for apparel and textile companies.

The launch of the School of Apparel with HSBC will help “prepare cohorts ready to take on the challenge of employability,” Huq said. An independent Bangladesh-based international educational institution, AUW is focused on providing advanced upskilling and learning opportunities for the women she believes will continue to drive the industry’s innovation and growth, allowing Bangladesh to remain competitive on the world stage.

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“The global apparel industry is evolving rapidly alongside emerging technologies, changing consumption patterns and an increasing focus on sustainability,” HSBC South and Southeast Asia head of commercial banking Amanda Murphy added. The master’s program equips “future talent with the expertise” to advance in one of Bangladesh’s most valuable industries.

“This program supports the professional and leadership development of women, providing better access to opportunities through inclusion and fostering the long-term growth for Bangladesh and its communities,” she added. The curriculum was designed with international education standards in mind, giving students hands-on experience collaborating with global counterparts across academia and the apparel industry.

The master’s program will enroll 50 students for its inaugural year, offering 13 multi-disciplinary courses. HSBC said it plans to open 50 Mac design labs for students and provide faculty and IT support, class infrastructure and education materials.