More than 50 representatives and owners from across the country attended the furniture makers stake holders meeting on Tuesday this week. The event was graced by Minister of Labour and Human Resourse (MoLHR) Minister Lyonpo Ngeema Sangay Tshempo.
The main objective of the meeting was to study the employment prospects for youth and the types of skills required by the furniture houses. The plan is to then study and draw training programs as per the requirement of the furniture making houses and establish strong linkages between the furniture making houses and the ministry.
Lyonpo said, “There are 252 licensed furniture making houses in the country, and there are no furniture houses in Gasa, Trongsa and Lhuentse dzongkhags.”
Paro Dzongkhag was noted as having the highest number of furniture houses with 52 followed by Thimphu with 47, however Thimphu is recorded to have the highest number of functional furniture houses making it 85 percent followed by Paro at 73 percent with Chukha at 40 percent.
He said, “As compared to other types of industry, the furniture industry seems to encourage less Bhutanese than its potential as on an average, each furniture houses employs only six people.”
In 2015, the department of labour, MoLHR conducted a survey to study the HR requirement by the furniture making houses in the country.
Lyonpo said that the study was primarily to find out the number of foreign workers employed by the furniture making houses. It was found that out of 903 workers, 485 were Bhutanese and 418 were foreign workers.
The study also revealed that the furniture making house required an additional manpower of 486 people.
The study found out that out of 252 furniture house in a country, it was found out that only 183 are operational and 69 are non-operational.
39 females were employed as helpers and 32 as carpenters. 418 were male carpenters.
The preferred Job categories for both male and female are as carpenter and helpers. The ratio of male to female employment in furniture house is 6:1.
The Labour ministry hopes that can train and supply the furniture will skilled Bhutanese manpower creating employment and in doing so also helping the furniture industry.