Tech giant Apple on Wednesday announced a $50 million Supplier Employee Development Fund that will expand access to learning opportunities and skill development in India, along with other supply chain hubs like the US, China and Vietnam.
Through this initiative, the iPhone maker will work with its partners to deliver best-in-class content to people across its India supply chain.
With this, tens of thousands of employees across India will be able to participate in programmes through the global fund over the course of the next year.
Eventually, Apple will scale this programme to more supplier employees in India and 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.
“Together with rights advocates and education leaders, we are continuing to drive new innovation to support people and the planet,” Chandler added.
Apple’s contract manufacturers in India are global giants Foxconn and Wistron. The tech giant recently started assembling its new flagship iPhone 13 in India, and is reportedly ramping up production of other products in the country.
Apple is already assembling its highest-selling models iPhone 12, iPhone 11 and XR in India, along with iPhone SE, 7 and 6S. Apple started manufacturing iPhones in India in 2017 with iPhone SE.
For supplier employees in India, the programme will offer leadership training for local supervisors and automation training that will give participants tools to gain technical expertise.
The fund also includes new and expanded partnerships with leading rights advocates, universities, and nonprofits to drive Apple’s ongoing work to empower supplier employees.
The new education initiatives will make training and coursework available to supplier employees around the world, with programming initially available to individuals in the US, China, India and Vietnam.
By 2023, Apple expects more than 100,000 supplier employees to participate in new learning opportunities — from leadership training and technical certifications to classes on coding, robotics, and advanced manufacturing fundamentals, including green manufacturing.
To date, over 23 million people across Apple’s global supply chain have received critical worker rights training.
According to Sabih Khan, in-charge of Apple’s global supply chain, more than 175 of their suppliers have committed to using 100 per cent renewable energy for their Apple production.
“We’ve diverted more than 2 million tonnes of waste from landfills since 2015, and saved more than 50 billion gallons of freshwater since 2013,” Khan informed in a letter.
“We’ve supported more than 60 organisations — including human rights and environmental defenders — in our work to empower local voices, support community leaders, and ensure people across our supply chain are treated with dignity and respect,” he added.