Textile industry in Belarus

Despite competition from China, India and the countries of Central Asia, textile production in Belarus is the largest in Eastern Europe and among the largest in Europe. It constitutes one of the biggest branches in Belarus (over 150 enterprises apart from man-made and flax processing plants). Manufacturing of fibres is an important traditional activity. The cultivation of flax, raw material for the production of linen, presents a competitive advantage of Belarusian industry. Belarus is the 4th country worldwide in the production of linen, exporting more than 50% of its total production. The demand of linen, an ecological textile with small ecological footprint, is constantly increasing in the Western world. Apart from the production of linen fibres, Belarus has a long tradition in the manufacturing of man-made fibres. The first viscose fibres were manufactured in Mogilev in 1930, polyester and polyamide fibres are being manufactured since 1965. Nowadays, Belarus manufactures all types of natural (cotton, wool, flax) and manmade fibres for textile and technical yarns. There are several enterprises where man-made fibres were manufactured including technical polyamide yarns, polyester yarns and fibres, viscose yarns, nonwonens, PAN fibers, glass fibres, yarns, fabrics etc.

Textile industry in Belarus is in the process of large-scale modernisation. There is a programme for industry development for 2011-2015 that will continue until 2020 "Support to the modernisation of the Belarusian textile companies" addressing mainly Bellegprom, the National Concern of textile industries. It intends to promote the modernisation of the mills and increase capacity of production and exports of high quality fibres and textiles. Up-to-date machinery is installed at a lot of mills and Belarusian industries are being modernised to face the challenges of the global market. The modernization of the industry sets new challenges for higher education. Among the priorities for higher education are: creation of new assortment of textiles, increasing quality of flax and other domestic fibres textiles, increasing of efficiency of wastes processing.

Higher education institutes (HEIs) cooperate closely with the textile enterprises in the field of employment of the graduates. Textile enterprises make five years' projections of needs for specialists, based on current needs and on estimations for future investments. This information (estimates) is given to the Universities to base their medium term plans. Every year, few months before the end of the academic year, the HEIs inquire the enterprises for vacant positions. The HEIs receive responses from the enterprises and distribute them to students, who have the right to choose their place of work, based on their academic performance (students with better performance can choose from a larger number of offers). Graduates, who have not paid tuitions, have to work in the selected enterprise at least two years. Students paying tuitions, can search for a working position on their own.