The Hinrich Foundation’s Talent Development Program companies develop the next generation of industry leaders.
Textile companies are finding it is increasingly costly to send technician from their headquarters to multiple countries around the world to solve production problems. However, the developing countries where most of today’s textiles and apparel is produced are desperately in need of more skilled technicians. Ideally, companies would like to hire local talent rather than recruiting from overseas, people who are comfortable working and living in the country – and will want to stay and grow with the company.
Identify this need, the Hinrich Foundation’s Education Partnership is a program that was established to help cultivate tomorrow’s talent from the local community. It is not only a fully funded master degree program, but also offers integrated leadership development with a clear career path.
The Hinrich Foundation works closely with partner companies in the apparel and textile industry to identify the future leaders for their firm, and then fund their studies in select educational institutions.
“We’ve done a program with VF Group. They told us that they found it challenge to recruit good engineers in Bangladesh. So we worked with VF to create a profile to understand what they wanted in future leaders for their company. They told us they needed someone that has industry experience, holds an undergraduate degree, and has the aptitude for engineering and working in a factory,” Alex Boome, Program Director at the Hinrich Foundation told Inside Fashion.
“After we did this need analysis, our team reviewed various engineering programs around the world. We give them a short list of programs seemed to offer the training they required. In this case, VF chose a program at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University,” said Mr. Boom. He explained that the academic program had to provide technical training and that could help companies solve problems at a factory level. The training also must help the candidate develop the skillset that he can parlay into an ongoing career, hopefully one day as part of the middle management.
“We do the initial round of scouting candidates and then we present all the applications to the partner company. Together we interview all the suitable candidates and finally select the one who participate in the program. That’s important because the people we recruit will work in VF’s factory, so it’s also a hiring process,” said Alex Ward, Program Manager Education Partnerships at the Hinrich Foundation. “We want to emphasizeg that this program has a clear career path goal, it’s not just a leadership development program,” Mr. Ward told Inside Fashion.
After graduation, the candidates return to their home countries and started to work in the factories as trained engineers.
Many companies have partnered with the Hinrich Foundation on this program and the results have been exceptionally good.
“We’ve done this program with Adidas in Vietnam, and we are also planning to launch more programs for Adidas’ vendor factories in Myanmar and Cambodia,” Mr. Boome told Inside fashion.
The Hinrich Foundation is now looking for more industry partners to join in rolling out this program to more developing countries in Southeast Asia.