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Apple announces $50 million fund to upskill employees, India amongst first benefactors

Apple announces $50 million fund to upskill employees, India amongst first benefactors
30 Mar, 2022
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American technology major Apple, today, announced a $50 million Supplier Employee Development Fund, which will be used to provide learning opportunities and develop skills amongst employees of its manufacturing partners. The company said that manufacturing employees in India will be amongst the first to reap the benefits of the fund, along with the United States, China, India and Vietnam.

According to Apple, over 100,000 supplier employees will participate in “new learning opportunities” through the fund. This includes leadership training, technical certifications, coding, robotics, and advanced manufacturing fundamentals, including green manufacturing.

The company has partnered with the International Labour Organization, the International Organization for Migration, and global education experts for the learning programmes. The company didn’t disclose whether it will be working with Indian educators and rights organizations for the programme, but said that the fund includes “expanded partnerships” with leading rights advocates, universities and non-profits around the world.

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The Supplier Employee Development Fund will also be used to expand the scope of virtual education and skill-building courses that Apple already offers to its manufacturing partners. The company said that it has reached 5 million people through its supplier employee educational programming till date.

The new fund will help Apple ensure smooth operations of its supply chain. The company has dealt with its share of issues with employees of its manufacturing partners.

In December 2020, a large number of workers at a Bengaluru facility run by Apple supplier Wistron rioted over unpaid salaries. The iPhone maker conducted an audit of Wistron following the event and put the manufacturer on probation. The plant was reopened in February 2021 and Apple said at the time that employees at the plant would undergo training about their rights and to learn how they can raise their concerns.

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Apple manufactures products in India through contract manufacturing partners Foxconn, Wistron and Pegatron, among others. While full-scale manufacturing is still quite a few years away, the company assembles units of the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 here in India at the moment.