Almost two million people enrolled in practical, valuable and productive skills training and upgrading courses nationwide last year, attesting to the increasing demand and requirement for graduates of technical (or “tech-voc”) education courses, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) yesterday reported.
Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda D. Baldoz, citing a report of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), said that the development bodes well for the labor and employment agenda of President Benigno S. Aquino III to create more jobs in the local economy for Filipinos.
The President, in his 22-point DOLE agenda, had emphasized the need to “invest in the formal and regular skills training and upgrading of our overseas workers with TESDA and utilize returning OFWs to conduct training so that they may transfer skills learned abroad.”
Baldoz said that skilled people reinforce their chances of landing productive, in-demand jobs, while lessening the skills-jobs mismatch that is an obstacle in the effort to bring down unemployment.
“The skills of the Filipino workers also enhance industries’ competitiveness and the country’s attractiveness to job-friendly investments,” Baldoz said.
The report bared public by TESDA Director General Pastor Z. Guiao also indicated that even foreign employers in the Philippines are now inclined to require specialized tech-voc training on their personnel as evidenced by a TESDA-issued National Certificate of Competency.
Guiao stressed that almost everyone, barring rare exceptions, are eligible in taking up the wide range and variety of practical tech-voc courses at TESDA or the TESDA-supervised network of skills training institutions and schools nationwide.
Guiao noted that while many Filipinos in the past tended to shy away from tech-voc courses, nowadays the prestige and reputation of those who have chosen to acquire technical skills are solid, and in-demand.
“The reality now is that most of the successful workers and entrepreneurs have taken up at least one or two skills courses,” Guiao enthused, saying further that, “most of the job vacancies in the local and overseas labor markets require technical skills.”
These, in turn, have spurred a trend in favor of more and more people taking up tech-voc. In fact, Guiao said, “last year alone, half of the total 1.98 million tech-voc trainees in the country were high school graduates, while more than a tenth, or 13 percent, were already college undergraduates, and the remainder either college undergraduates (16%), or those who had previously taken other post-secondary tech-voc courses (12%).“
All these make tech-voc “a very attractive option for all Filipinos, for when they eventually graduate, they would have virtually unlimited options whether with local companies or overseas, or for those with entrepreneurial spirit, to become their own bosses in their own businesses.” Guiao further revealed that in a TESDA study of tech-voc graduates, 80% of them were gainfully employed in various companies, while 20% were productively self-employed.
Indeed, for those who wish to do so, armed with TESDA skills, they may open a repair shop in the neighborhood, amidst the fact that “many Filipinos are buying cars, motorcycles, and cellular phones.” On the other hand, unemployed married women, may take up short-service related courses in cosmetology, beauty culture, and the like, or they may opt for baking or commercial cooking to start their own café or bakery.” Even retirees could take up a course to engage in gainful activity, Guiao said, adding: “Wala pong pinipili ang TESDA, at lahat puwedeng mag-enroll lalo sa aming training centers kung saan ang pag-aaral ay libre (TESDA does not discriminate and everyone can enroll in our schools and training centers free of charge.”