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Working Conditions

Training & Development

GRI G4 Content Index

Gildan recognizes that over the course of employment, it is important to provide employees with ongoing education through various types of training designed to improve the technical, administrative and interpersonal skills necessary in their present job and position them with opportunities for future growth within the organization. Ongoing employee training is a key factor in upgrading technical and behavioral competencies in the workforce.

Upon commencement of their employment with Gildan, employees attend an induction training or information session where they are introduced to Gildan, its principles, policies and procedures, the Code of Conduct, corporate citizenship principles, the Gildan Quality System (GQS), and with their specific job responsibilities. The training also includes topics related to enabling workers to better understand the environment in which they will be working, as well as informing them of their rights and obligations.

Specific employee training requirements are identified at a later time through the performance management process. Gildan continues to assess how employee ratings, as found on the performance appraisal tool, evolve from one year to the next. In doing so, we have been able to identify and build on our employees’ competencies, help them increase their knowledge and heighten their awareness of the principles of Gildan’s Code of Conduct. We have also been able to identify employees’ progress and take the necessary measures to address the gaps between their actual performance and the desired performance scores.

Gildan continues to help close employee performance gaps by providing training (on-the-job, internal or external) and coaching and by having employees participate in various projects or assignments throughout all Gildan locations. These efforts have yielded positive results that include internal promotions, increased employee engagement and productivity, just to name a few.

Depending on pre-defined parameters, Gildan will cover certain related expenses and will also encourage the movement of employees from one hub or facility to another for short periods so that employees may provide or receive training.

In 2015, 925,668 million man-hours of training were provided globally, which represents an average of 21 man-hours of training per employee.

In 2015, detailed man-hours of training provided to employees per category can be broken down as follows:

  • In-house Training

    At the majority of our locations, we have initiated a series of in-house training sessions in order to enhance employee knowledge on subjects specific to Gildan, share best practices and recognize employees’ expertise and competencies.

    Topics covered during these in-house training sessions include:

    • Gildan: Launched in 2012, the Gildan Business Knowledge Training focuses on Gildan’s history, products and operations, as well as Corporate Social Responsibility and Human Resources practices, the Code of Conduct and the Code of Ethics. It reflects the Gildan Culture and clearly states the expected behaviour from our employees in ethical matters.
    • Human Resources: Various topics are being addressed though in-house training sessions. For instance, leadership and organizational skills (e.g. the setting of priorities and time management skills), employee motivation, new employee training, conflict resolution, change management, labour code, insurance plans, disciplinary process, performance management and recognition practices are all areas of focus.

    Gildan launched a global initiative in 2014 whereby our Global Human Resources team trained all management staff on principles relating to performance management and recognition. This was done in order to better equip managers when it comes to dealing with high-performing employees as well as those who require more coaching and mentoring. This initiative proved to be of great success across the organization. In Canada, in 2015, following the acquisition of Doris Inc. (now Gildan Apparel Canada) in June 2014, training sessions pertaining to performance management and recognition were offered to 30 managers in 2015 to educate them on these important topics.

    • Quality: Gildan Quality System, ISO 9001, quality control, and internal auditor training.
    • Health and Safety: Preparation of internal brigades, facility safety training across all areas, including fire control and chemical handling.
    • Technical: Operator skills development; knitting; cutting and dyeing procedures; Instituto Politécnico Centroamericano technical training (refrigeration and air conditioning); and basic electrics training.
    • Finance: Finance 101 for non-finance professionals, and IFRS training.
    • Corporate Citizenship: Code of Conduct, ergonomics, and environment.
    • Ethics and Compliance: Code of Ethics, anti-corruption.
    • Information Technology: Information security (computer security and personal/company information).

  • Technical Training

    At Gildan, we recognize that ongoing employee training is a key factor in upgrading workforce competencies. As such, we place great emphasis on "on-the-job training" for our workers. Immediately upon hiring, direct production employees receive technical training specific to their job responsibilities, such as the equipment operator training that is provided to all lift operators at all our US facilities, or advanced training in Word, Excel and other software applications for our administrative staff in Barbados and Bangladesh. Learning the right techniques and safety protocols from day one allows employees to easily adapt to their new work environment and allows them to quickly integrate into their role and responsibilities.

    At Gildan owned facilities in Central America, the Caribbean Basin and Bangladesh, as well as at our contractor facilities in Haiti, sewing modules are reserved exclusively for new employee training. These modules are also used to teach new sewing procedures throughout the course of the year. In 2015, we conducted approximately 36,700 man-hours of training on dedicated sewing modules in Honduras, more than 10,000 man-hours of training in Nicaragua and more than 135,300 man-hours of training in Bangladesh.

    Specifically at our textile facility in the Dominican Republic (Dortex), the Dortex Training System (DTS) was created to reinforce our commitment to technical training. In 2015, more than 2,300 man-hours of training were provided to operators and utility personnel.

    Close to 160,000 man-hours of training were conducted to operators in all production areas, at our Honduras textile facilities.

  • Internal Training Academies

    In March 2011, Gildan created an Internal Training Academy in Nicaragua to provide all direct employees the opportunity to be trained in additional technical areas such as mechanics, as well as in supervisory and instructional roles. This allows the Company to identify and train internal talent and provide these individuals with the opportunity to be promoted within the Company. The program is supervised and certified by the National Technical Institute of Nicaragua (INATEC), a governmental organization responsible for professional development. To date, more than 150 employees have graduated from our Internal Training Academy in Nicaragua.

    The Internal Training Academy was recently replaced with a Mechanic and Instructor School Program, which is jointly developed with INATEC. Gildan employees and people from the surrounding community can participate in this program. During 2015, a total of 50 mechanics and 12 instructors graduated from the program, which will continue during 2016.

    In Honduras, a similar program was successfully implemented at our Villanueva sewing facility in 2014. At this facility, 7 employees graduated and were promoted to mechanic positions. The program also took place at one of our textile facilities (Rio Nance 2), where 10 employees participated and 6 graduated. 2 employees have since been promoted to supervisor positions. The Internal Training Academy started in the first quarter of 2015 at the Rio Nance 4 hosiery facility and at the Rio Nance 5 textile facility started in the second quarter of 2015. The Internal Training Academy started at Hosiery facilities in January of 2015, graduating 129 employees from different areas. In March 2015 , Gildan started a Cross Training Internal program in Nicaragua with Junior Engineers and Coordinators to provide opportunities for future growth into coordination and managerial positions.

    Since 2013, Gildan created two Collaborative Training Centers in alliance with PROCINCO, the training component of the Honduran Maquila Association (AHM), and the National Institute for Professional Training (INFOP). These training centers were established under the Engineering Department’s management in Honduras and were equipped with tools and real machinery in order to provide technical training for textile and hosiery knitting maintenance technicians. This training is provided through a structured program combining theoretical and practical training hours.

    Since the opening of the centers until the end of the collaborative with PROCINCO and INFOP at the end of 2014, we have provided approximately 11,800 man-hours of technical training to 121 maintenance technicians.

    Starting 2015, Gildan has continued organizing, designing and conducting training in these centers internally. These training centers are the first of their kind for textile and hosiery knitting processes in the apparel industry in Honduras.

    In June 2014, the Alan Cohen Technical School was inaugurated. The goal of the technical school is to help prepare better textile technicians in order to improve production levels, promote team work and create growth opportunities for graduates.

    Throughout 2015, over 45,000 man-hours of technical training were provided in Honduras to technicians at our textile facilities.

    Finally, at our Rio Nance industrial complex, a new project called ‘Minifabricas’ started in 2015. It consists of training internally high performance teams formed by the Mechanic, Auditor and Operators of the Knitting area. They also receive external training on teamwork, client service, and change resilience.

  • Leadership and Managerial Programs

    We also provide both on-site and off-site managerial and leadership education, as well as labour law training to our Directors, Managers, Supervisors and Coordinators in various locations. Here are a few examples of programs:

    • As part of our learning initiatives to strengthen our management team in Honduras and Nicaragua, Gildan signed a collaboration agreement with the ADEN Business School to provide a 2,000-hour training program to take place over the course of 2014 and 2015. ADEN Business School is an educational institution which focuses on the professional development of managers and executives, and has strategic alliances with recognized universities and business schools in Latin America, the United States, Spain, and Switzerland. The program covers topics such as project management, negotiation skills, supply chain management and professional development. Additionally, the training program offers mentoring and life coaching, providing tools to enhance the managerial and interpersonal skills of participants. Life coaching also helps to improve participants’ quality of life and develop their potential. The programs are intended for small to medium-sized groups of individuals identified as key players for the organization.
    • Since 2014, close to 1,700 management and mid-management employees participated in a Humanistic and Professional Certificate program to strengthen leadership skills in Honduras and Nicaragua. The program covered topics such as: local culture and responsibility awareness, principles, values and habits, effective communication, the role of the supervisor, team work and financial freedom. In order to graduate from the program, participants had to present a project to demonstrate the skills and knowledge acquired while positively impacting their facility, community or company as a whole.
    • At the end of 2015, a “Manager for the First Time Program” was started, as part of the initiatives tied to the recent promotion of employees to managerial positions. The program provides tools to the newly promoted employees in order to strengthen or develop their competencies in areas such as coaching, leadership and managerial skills.
    • In the Dominican Republic, we started a specialized leadership program aimed at managers in order to develop competencies in areas such as leadership, strategic planning, coaching, and emotional intelligence.
    • In Barbados, groups of supervisors and managers were offered training in managing conflicts as well as a specific training on the Barbados Employment Rights Act. We also started providing training sessions on behaviour and technical competencies to employees at the management level. There were 25 employees participating this year.
    • In Canada, a leadership training program was undertaken in 2013 and in 2014 with a group of managers and directors at the corporate head office. The program included 6 sessions, each covering different topics ranging from communications skills to coaching and providing effective feedback. Currently, the majority of our corporate head office managers and directors have participated in this leadership training initiative. In 2015, a follow-up session was offered to all managers and directors at the corporate head office to discuss progress and provide additional tips and tools. In addition to this follow-up session, a few individual coaching sessions as well as leadership training sessions were offered to Directors of the corporate office to address specific topics in a more detailed and personalized manner. Moreover, two sessions, namely one related to change management and one related to employee feedback were offered to managers at Gildan Apparel Canada. In addition to these leadership training sessions, various individual coaching sessions are also underway to address specific topics in a more detailed and personalized manner.
    • In the United States, leadership development training was conducted in the Charleston and Eden distribution centers as well as the Salisbury yarn-spinning facilities. This training focused on leadership skills, coaching, effective communication skills, delegating and mentoring for supervisors and managers. This training is carried out throughout the course of the year.

  • Personal Development

    Through the Gildan tuition reimbursement program, in some countries, we reimburse tuition fees to employees who participate in continuing professional development programs offered through universities or professional associations. Gildan supports employees through training and development programs, which typically improves job performance and satisfaction.

    In addition, at the majority of our locations, we provide language courses to employees who are required to communicate in French, English or Spanish in performing their duties.

    In 2015, we provided 220 man-hours of professional development and training for our employees at our Bangladesh operation delivered through professional institutions.

    School for Effective Parents

    In Honduras, Gildan created a training program in 2013 called School for Effective Parents. The objective of this program is to support employees with training that goes beyond work-related issues. During the workshops, parents come to recognize the importance of getting to know themselves better, and then can apply the knowledge and techniques acquired to better communicate with their children and family. In the first year of the program, 13 workshops of 10 hours each were held in Honduras, catering to employees from all facilities.

    In all, a total of 2,400 hours of training were provided, benefiting more than 100 employees and their spouses. Three internal facilitators were trained to continue implementing the workshops and open new groups in Honduras over the course of 2014. In addition, the program offered more than 835 sessions for our employees in Honduras, during the course of the 2014 year. No similar training was conducted in 2015 but the program will continue in 2016.

    Saving Our Family Program

    In Honduras, Gildan created this program in 2015 to support employees experiencing personal and family related matters beyond work-related issues by offering them family counseling. During the sessions, employees discuss their issues with a counselor that can offer them techniques to address their problems and provide possible solutions. Around 1,100 employees attended during 2015, which is equivalent to 19,566 man-hours.

    Educatodos Program in Honduras

    Basic education and literacy are taken for granted in many parts of the world but unfortunately, these fundamental rights are not available in many regions. Recognizing this, since 2003 Gildan has supported Educatodos, a program developed in partnership with the Honduran Ministry of Education and the United States Agency for International Development to offer primary and secondary education classes in underprivileged regions. By 2010, Gildan had expanded the program across all its textile and sewing facilities in Honduras.

    In the last ten years, close to 1,000 Gildan employees have benefitted from the program and pursued their high school education while working. This includes more than 80 employees from our textile facilities, who were enrolled in the Educatodos program last year.

    In July 2015, our Star facility in Honduras offered the Educatodos program to 18 students in the 10th and 7th grade.

    World Vision Women in Factories

    During 2015, the aforementioned program was sucessfully implemented at our Villanueva sewing facility with training for 340 employees, which represented 5,440 man-hours.

    In fact, in November 2015, World Vision Honduras and the Walmart Foundation recognized this facility for its Women in Factories program. This program empowers participants through a series of workshops in leadership, conflict resolution, gender, self-esteem and effective communication, among others, resulting in a positive impact both in their personal and professional lives.

    "Before I started the workshops, I had conflicts for being unable to correctly manage stress caused by work and to communicate effectively with my family. But thanks to the training I received, I started applying the tools I was presented with and I know I have improved my family relationships; the workshops have helped me build awareness that everything can improve when we have good will.”

    - Claudia Lopez, Supervisora de Producción, Gildan Villanueva

  • Educational Agreement with a Honduran University

    In November 2011, Gildan conducted a survey at some of its facilities in Honduras regarding employee satisfaction with the work schedule. Although the large majority of our employees expressed their overall satisfaction with their work schedule, a small percentage mentioned they were experiencing difficulties finding a post-secondary academic program adapted to it. In response to this need, in February 2012, Gildan signed an educational cooperation agreement with the Universidad Tecnológica de Honduras (UTH). Under this agreement, the first one of its kind in Latin America and the Caribbean Basin, the university offers classes that are complementary to the Gildan work model. This unique agreement, along with the flexibility afforded by the Company’s schedule, allows employees to initiate or continue their university studies.

    In 2015, more than 300 Gildan employees from our facilities in Honduras took advantage of the agreement and were able to enroll in university programs to pursue various career options such as industrial production, business administration, and industrial relations.


    In September 2012, Gildan signed a collaboration agreement with the Instituto Tecnológico Agropecuario (ITA), a local institute operated by the National Technical Institute (INATEC) of Nicaragua and located in Nandaime.

    The agreement provides our employees working at our Rivas sewing facility with the opportunity to pursue technical studies adapted to their working schedule. This agreement allows our Nicaraguan employees to study English, administration, accounting and computer science at one of the educational institutions affiliated with INATEC. A total of 450 employees currently participate in this program, of which 200 have completed computer and accounting courses. These courses are sponsored by INATEC at no cost to our employees. A total of 60 employees participated at our Rivas sewing facility during 2015.

  • My House of Knowledge in Dominican Republic

    In the Dominican Republic, Gildan created an internal training school called "Mi Casita". The main objective of this school is to provide our maintenance employees the opportunity to increase their education level and help them improve their academic profile. In 2015, we provided more than 3,500 man-hours of training through this training program.


    In North America and Barbados, we offer transition assistance programs aiming to support employees’departure from Gildan resulting from retirement or termination of employment. Full time employees that are planning to retire can consult their local service provider to discuss their retirement benefits, savings plan as well as future financial plans.

    A severance benefit is also offered to employees who have experienced the elimination of their position, or a permanent layoff related to a facility closure. The severance benefit takes into account the full years of completed service for the impacted employee. As a part of the majority of our severance package, we offer an external career counseling service, which allows transitioning employees to access counseling services related to stress management, skills assessment, resume preparation, financial planning and career development.