Share this page

Working Conditions

Training & Development

GRI Content Index

Gildan recognizes that it is important to provide employees with ongoing education through various types of training designed to develop and improve the technical, administrative and interpersonal skills necessary to succeed.  We believe that continuous development is essential to upgrading both technical and behavioral competencies within our workforce. Moreover, skills and development training positions employees for future growth and opportunities within the Company. 

Soon after hiring, Gildan employees attend an induction training, or information session, where they are introduced to the Company, its principles, policies and procedures.  Moreover, we present the Code of Conduct, our corporate social responsibility practices, the Global Quality System (GQS), and other specifics related to their new responsibilities. The training also covers topics intended to help employees better understand their new work environment as well as to inform them of their rights and obligations.

Later in their journey, individual employee training needs are assessed through a formal and methodical performance management program. In essence, Gildan evaluates the evolution of employee performance ratings, year over year, by way of an annual appraisal tool. In doing so, we have been able to identify and build on our employees’ competencies as well as develop robust development plans for them. We have also been able to follow employees’ progress and adopt the necessary measures to address any gaps between their actual performance and performance objectives. 

Gildan helps to build competency by providing training and coaching (on-the-job, internal or external), but also through practical employee participation in various projects or assignments throughout our operations. This approach has brought about positive results for the Company that include better employee engagement and increased productivity, but also impactful and rewarding experiences for employees including internal promotions and international transfers.

Gildan’s Organizational Development professionals have made significant efforts to redefine and optimize performance management systems in recent years. In fact, 2016 marked an important milestone for Gildan as we transitioned from a paper performance management process to a global e-performance system known as GPAT.  The process requires both managers and employees to engage in open discussions at the beginning of the year, at mid-year and at year-end to ensure that every employee has a strong and achievable development plan. As an organization, Gildan guides and facilitates employee development, while allowing employees to define their professional objectives, trace their career paths and identify the concrete actions needed for continued success.

Depending on pre-defined parameters and tuition reimbursement programs available in some regions, Gildan will cover certain related expenses for employees who participate in continuing education and professional development programs offered through universities or professional associations. Gildan also supports the assignment of employees, from one hub or facility to another, to enable employees to provide or benefit from training.

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 the course of their duties.

In 2016, over 837,800 man-hours of training were provided globally, which represents an average of 17 man-hours of training per employee.  These training hours can be categorized as follows:

  • In-house Training

    At the majority of our locations, we have introduced a series of in-house training sessions on subjects specific to Gildan, to share best practices and to enhance our employees’ expertise and competencies. Topics covered during these in-house training sessions are numerous.

    Business Knowledge 

    Launched in 2012, the Gildan Business Knowledge training focuses on: the Company’s history, products and operations, Corporate Social Responsibility, Human Resources practices, the Code of Conduct and the Code of Ethics. The session aims to explain Gildan’s culture and to define the behaviours expected from employees, especially as they relate to ethical matters.

    Corporate Social Responsibility

    All employees are introduced to Gildan’s Code of Conduct and Environmental Policy.  Some specialized training on Gildan’s CSR program is also provided to Customer Service employees to expand on their knowledge of our social and environmental practices, which enables them to adequately respond to requests from our customers. Moreover, internal auditors are trained on our monitoring guidelines.

    Ethics and Compliance

    All employees receive training on policies pertaining to the Code of Ethics and anti-corruption.


    Gildan offers “Finance 101” training for non-finance professionals and provides International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) training.

    Health and Safety

    The Human Resources department is also charged with training internal safety brigades, facility safety training across all areas (including fire control and chemical handling). Employees are also given ergonomics training.

    In 2016, our yarn spinning facilities and Branded Apparel distribution locations in the U.S. benefitted from several training initiatives, such as: Post-accident/incident Remedial Safety Training, Annual Safety Training, Sharps Training, CPR/AED/First Aid First Responder Training, Fork Lift Training, Lockout/Tagout Training, Fire Extinguisher Training, OSHA 10-hour General Industry Safety & Health Training , Equipment Operation (Walkie, Reach, 589), Warehouse Management Systems Training, RedPrairie/ADP System User Training, Conveyor Operations.

    Quality Management

    In 2016, the Company redeployed the Gildan Quality System (GQS) globally.  Other quality training modules offered related to ISO 9001, QC and internal auditor training.

    Human Resources

    Various topics are being addressed though in-house training sessions. For instance, 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 related to performance management and recognition were offered to 30 managers to educate them on these important topics. In 2016, recognition and feedback continued to be a key topic and was extended to over 250 middle management positions in Honduras and will be continued through 2017. 

    In 2016, the Anti-corruption policy and Code of Ethics were reinforced at all facilities and these topics will continue to be a priority in 2017.

    Also in 2016, Gildan launched a competency development guide for employees globally.  Published in our three official languages (English, French, Spanish), the guide provides insights into the key behaviors, self-assessment benchmarks, and suggestions for developing competencies that are key at Gildan. A series of train-the-trainer (for the HR community globally) as well as live and online training sessions for employees were used to launch the guide and ensure its understanding and application. To reinforce this, formal training on each competency is a part of our continuous learning strategy.  

    As a complement to the guide, a Quarterly Competency Update is produced internally and communicated globally with tips and tricks on how to develop key competencies. References such as: reading of the quarter, podcasts, videos and self-study material are shared throughout the business globally every quarter.  The first Quarterly update explored the topic of communication, followed by a second update dealing with adaptability.

    Other Human Resources management training modules are tailored to address Leadership and organizational skills (setting priorities, time management), Employee motivation, Conflict resolution, disciplinary processes, Change management, Labour code, Insurance, Recognition, performance management and development.

    Information Technology

    All employees received training on use of Gildan’s systems as well as Information Security (computer security and personal/company information). We also provide advanced training on office management applications or other programs, as needed.

  • Technical Training

    Learning the right techniques and safety protocols early on allows employees to easily adapt to their new work environment and to quickly integrate into their role.  Production employees are regularly trained on our manufacturing processes and equipped with the information needed to safely and efficiently carry out their work. Upon hiring, new production employees receive technical training specific to their responsibilities, such as equipment operator training that is provided to all lift operators at all our facilities.  

    At Gildan owned facilities in Central America, the Caribbean Basin and Bangladesh, as well as at our contractor facilities in Haiti, training modules pertaining to sewing are taught to new employees. These modules are also used to teach all employees any new sewing procedures adopted throughout the year.  

    More than 132,000 man-hours of technical training were provided to operators throughout our various production departments at our textile facilities in Honduras.  We also accrued over 10,000 man-hours of training at our facilities in Nicaragua and the number climbs to 194,000 man-hours of training in Bangladesh.

    We dedicated more than 10,000 man-hours of technical training at our textile and sewing facilities in the Dominican Republic under the Dortex Training System (DTS).  In 2016, Gildan mechanics in the Dominican Republic were accredited by INFOTEP, the national training institute.  Moreover, our quality auditors adhered to a similar program with the goal of certifying their theoretical and practical competencies. 

    A total of 25,851 man-hours were allocated to training in the textile department of our facility in Bangladesh.

  • Skills and Development Training

    Gildan Internal Training Academy

    In March 2011, Gildan created an Internal Training Academy in Nicaragua to provide employees with the opportunity to learn new skills, such as mechanics, supervision and trainer roles. The program is supervised and certified by the National Technical Institute of Nicaragua (INATEC), a governmental organization responsible for professional development.

    The Company was able to identify and train top internal talent and to provide these individuals with growth opportunities within the organization. More than 160 employees have graduated to date.

    The concept for the academy has recently been changed to a more targeted Mechanic and Instructor School program, which was jointly developed with INATEC. Expanding our reach, non-employees from the surrounding community are now eligible to participate. 

    In 2015, a total of 50 mechanics and 12 instructors graduated from the program, which continued into 2016. As such, 16 mechanics were enrolled in the internal technical academy, benefitting from 2,271 man-hours of training during October to December of 2016.

    A similar program was successfully implemented at our Villanueva sewing facility and at one of our Rio Nance textile facilities – both located in Honduras. The program was expanded two additional facilities in Rio Nance in 2015.  In 2016, the program graduated 12 mechanics, 12 supervisors and 24 technicians throughout our operations in the region. 

    Cross Training Initiatives

    In March 2015, Gildan started an Internal Cross Training program in Nicaragua, with the participation of junior engineers and coordinators, to provide growth opportunities for coordination and managerial positions.  We sustained this program through 2016 with considerations to implement throughout Honduras in 2017.

    Collaborative Training Centers

    In 2013, Gildan created two Collaborative Training Centers in collaboration with PROCINCO, the training component of the Honduran Maquila Association (AHM) and the National Institute for Professional Training (INFOP). The training centers were established in Honduras under the Engineering Department’s management.  The centers were equipped with tools and machinery to provide technical training for textile and hosiery knitting maintenance technicians. 

    These training centers were the first of their kind for textile and hosiery knitting processes in the apparel industry in Honduras.

    The training was provided through a structured program combining theoretical and practical training hours. The collaboration with PROCINCO and INFOP allowed us to provide approximately 11,800 man-hours of technical training to 121 maintenance technicians.

    Alan Cohen Technical School

    In June 2014, the Alan Cohen Technical School was inaugurated with the goal of preparing competent textile technicians in order to improve production levels, promote team work and create growth opportunities for graduates.

    Over 45,000 man-hours of technical training were provided to technicians at our textile facilities in Honduras during 2015. This initiative was not carried through 2016, but may be reconsidered in 2017. 

    Minifabricas Project

    In 2015, our Rio Nance industrial complex kicked-off the ‘Minifabricas’ project in Honduras. The purpose was to provide high performance teams with training by the Mechanic, Auditor and Operators of the Knitting area. These teams also receive formal training from external profession on teamwork, client service and change resilience. The program was expanded in 2016, graduating 16 operators, 4 mechanics, 4 production supervisors and 4 maintenance supervisors from one of our textile facilities in Rio Nance.

    Mi Casita Program 

    Gildan created an internal training school called "Mi Casita" in the Dominican Republic. The main objective of this school is to provide our maintenance employees with the opportunity to increase their level of education and to help them improve their academic profile. 

    In 2015, we provided more than 3,500 man-hours of training through this program. In 2016, the third generation of basic mechanics and the first generation of needle mechanics were certified internally through this program. We recorded a total of 3,040 man-hours for this project in 2016.

  • Leadership and Managerial Programs

    Gildan also provides 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 the programs offered:

    Manager for the First Time Program 

    At the end of 2015, a “Manager for the First Time Program” was launched in Honduras, as part of ongoing initiatives that led to the promotion of employees to managerial positions. The program was meant to provide tools to newly promoted employees in order to strengthen or develop their competencies in areas such as coaching, leadership and management. 

    This 16-hour program is divided in three sessions.  The participants must present a project proposal on how to build trust, commitment and loyalty with their teams during the last session, when they are also invited to explain how best to adopt a team mentality. Their direct supervisors are invited to lend support, to provide guidance and to provide constructive criticisms intended to enrich their action plans. At the end of 2016, 22 participants had successfully completed this program.

    Specialized Leadership Programs in the Dominican Republic

    In the Dominican Republic, Gildan started a specialized leadership program geared towards managers in order to develop competencies in areas such as leadership, strategic planning, coaching, and emotional intelligence. 

    In 2016, supervisors participated in a special program to strengthen leadership skills and impact business results.

    Conflict Management and Employment Rights Act (Barbados)

    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 participants in 2016.

    Leadership Development Series

    Following major leadership development initiatives in 2013 and 2014, efforts to reinforce learnings acquired through those programs were deployed in Canada by way of multiple training sessions on competencies (Communication and presentation skills as well as performance management) during the course of 2016.

    A global leadership development program will be launched in 2017, employing a blended approach for first-line managers globally.  The program will include the participation of over 1,000 employees.

    Moreover, many leadership and managerial trainings were conducted in Bangladesh during 2016. Topics covered included: Talent Management, Conflict Management, Team Building, Goal Orientation, Goal Obsession, Micro Management, Goal Setting and Priority Management.

    In the United States, leadership development training was conducted in the Charleston and Eden distribution centers as well as the Salisbury yarn-spinning facilities in North Carolina. This training focused on leadership skills, coaching, effective communication skills, delegating and mentoring for supervisors and managers. This training was provided throughout the course of 2016.

  • Personal Development

    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, Gildan has supported Educatodos, a program developed in partnership between the Honduran Ministry of Education and the United States Agency for International Development, since 2003.  The program offers primary and secondary education courses in underprivileged regions. By 2010, Gildan had expanded the program across all of its textile and sewing facilities in Honduras.

    In the last ten years, over 1,000 Gildan employees have benefitted from the program and have pursued their high school education while working. This includes 145 employees from our textile and hosiery facilities who were enrolled in the Educatodos program in 2016 and who have completed seventh, eighth or ninth grade, according to their plans.

    World Vision Women in Factories

    Gildan first implemented the Women’s Empowerment Program two years ago in collaboration with the Walmart Foundation and World Vision® Honduras. The program supports women by helping them to develop the skills they need to become more active decision-makers and leaders in their jobs and their families. The Women’s Empowerment Program is unique in that it helps employees recognize their capabilities and equips them with the tools needed to balance demands, from both work and home.

    The program offers over 70 hours of training as well as the opportunity to learn about subjects such as management, finance, communications and health. At the end of the program, a group of women graduates who demonstrate strong leadership potential are selected to be trainers for the next round of candidates. The cycle then repeats itself to sustain the program in each facility.  An interesting aspect of the program is that men can also receive basic training by learning to recognize some of the challenges women face and ways to support them.  

    In 2016, our Villanueva, San Miguel and San Antonio sewing facilities, as well as our Honduras Regional staff participated in the program, which provided training for 1,163 employees who benefitted from a total of 13,450 man-hours.

  • Collaboration with Local Universities

    Education Agreement with Universidad Tecnológica de Honduras

    In November 2011, Gildan conducted a survey at some of its facilities in Honduras regarding employee satisfaction with the work schedule. Although the majority of employees expressed overall satisfaction with their work schedule, a small percentage mentioned that they were experiencing difficulties finding a post-secondary academic program that could accommodate it. 

    In response to this need, Gildan signed an agreement with the Universidad Tecnológica de Honduras (UTH) in February 2012. Under this agreement, the first one of its kind in Latin America and the Caribbean Basin, the university offers classes that complement Gildan’s work model and shifts. This unique agreement allows employees to pursue or to continue their university studies while remaining employed by the Company.

    In 2016, more than 200 Gildan employees from our facilities in Honduras took advantage of the agreement and are enrolled in university programs in pursuit of various career options, such as: industrial production, business administration, and industrial relations.

    Collaboration with INATEC Nicaragua

    In September 2012, Gildan signed an agreement with the Instituto Tecnológico Agropecuario (ITA), a local institute operated by the National Technical Institute (INATEC) of Nicaragua, located in Nandaime.  The agreement provided employees working at our Rivas sewing facility with the opportunity to pursue technical studies adapted to their work schedule. 

    This agreement allowed 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 participated in the program – 200 of which completed computer and accounting courses. The courses were sponsored by INATEC at no cost to participants. A total of 60 employees from our Rivas sewing facility participated in 2015. Although the program was not sustained for 2016, we are considering alternatives as to how this initiative may be carried forward.