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Apple Brings $50 Mn Supply Chain Workers Upskilling Fund; India Among First Beneficiaries

Apple Brings $50 Mn Supply Chain Workers Upskilling Fund; India Among First Beneficiaries

The $50 Mn fund is called Supplier Employee Development Fund, launched as an Apple initiative to upskill and train its workforce

Apple said that by 2023, it expects to see participation from more than 100,000 supplier employees

To date, Apple’s supplier employee educational programming has reached more than 5 Mn people

Apple has introduced a $50 Mn Supplier Employee Development Fund for upskilling and training workers throughout its supply chain services.

The company said that the fund will be used to provide learning opportunities and develop skills among employees of its manufacturing partners.

Along with the workers in the manufacturing divisions in the US, China and Vietnam, India will be among the first countries to benefit from the $50 Mn fund.

In a statement, Apple said that by 2023, it expects to see participation from more than 100,000 supplier employees in programs such as leadership training, technical certifications, coding, robotics, and advanced manufacturing fundamentals including green manufacturing.

Apple has been providing such programs since 2008, the company said. To date, Apple’s supplier employee educational programming has reached more than 5 Mn people.

The company has partnered with the likes of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), and global education experts for the learning programs. 

Apple has not disclosed the Indian educators and rights organisations it will work with, but it has said that the fund will expand partnerships with rights advocates, universities and nonprofit organisations around the world.

“We put people first in everything that we do, and we’re proud to announce a new commitment to accelerate our progress and provide even more opportunities for people across our supply chain,” said Sarah Chandler, Apple’s senior director of Environment and Supply Chain Innovation. 

Apple hopes that this new fund will help it smoothen out its supply chain operations. Incidentally, the Silicon Valley giant has faced its fair share of problems.

In December 2020, Wistron, an Apple supplier, saw its Bengaluru facility upended as workers rioted over unpaid dues. Apple had put Wistron on probation in the aftermath of that, and the facility was reopened in February 2021. 

Apple had said at the time that employees at the plant would undergo training about their rights and learn how they can raise their concerns.

Along with Wistron, Apple partners with Foxconn and Pegatron for assembling iPhone 11 and 12 in India, with full-scale manufacturing still years in the future.

This is when officials of the Indian government have reportedly asked the Cupertino-based tech giant to generate an annual production output of products worth $5 Bn in the next five to six years. 

Made-in-India iPhones make up about 70% of the company’s mobile phone sales in the country, in part due to the government’s Production-linked incentive scheme (PLI). The PLI scheme for large scale electronic manufacturing gives a financial incentive for the domestic manufacturing of mobile phones, electronics components and advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs).

The government plans to give incentives of up to INR 40,951 Cr over a period of five years. But even this 70% coming from its manufacturing partners Foxconn and Wistron (who have plants in India) is a small trickle compared to the waterfall of products that are manufactured in China.