Ho Chi Minh City has set to become a garment supply hub for the southern region and the nation’s fashion centre by 2020.

The ambition forms part of the city’s garment industry development plan with a vision towards 2030 that was made public by the municipal Department of Trade and Industry at a conference on November 3.

However, participants in the conference expressed concerns that a shortage in skilled workers could harm the industry.

According to the plan, the city’s industry will require an additional 19,500 workers by 2015 and 20,250 by 2020. Approximately 500-1000 skilled workers, such as engineers, technical experts and designers, will be needed.

Bui Mai Huong, Head of the Garment Technique Department under the Mechanical Engineering Department of the Ho Chi Minh City (HUT) University of Technology, said HUT is among the two universities in Vietnam which offer courses on garment and textile engineering. It is only capable of training 80 engineers in the field a year.

Under the garment industry development plan, the city aims to increase the industry’s production value to more than 37 trillion VND (1.7 billion USD) by 2015, more than 1.5 times higher than in 2010.

The plan sets out an average growth rate of 8.5 percent in 2015.

To implement the plan, the city will continue to focus on creating value and supply chains for the industry, with an emphasis on environmentally friendly products with competitive designs, services, quality and prices while relocating failing inner-city establishments to industrial clusters.

Investment capital for the industry is estimated at more than 10 trillion VND (470 million USD) for 2015, with on-site investments accounting for more than 2.7 trillion VND (126 million USD).-VNA