TESDA provides skills training and more Filipinos looking for employment here or abroad. (Photo: Sunstar.com.ph)
By Tracy Cabrera
MANILA — Amidst the economic downturn resulting from the lockdown triggered by efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19, senatorial aspirant Guillermo Lorenzo Tolentino Eleazar is looking at practical skills training for most Filipinos to survive the pandemic economically in the light of prevailing unemployment or underemployment problems.
Prior to this, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) director-general Isidro Lapeña disclosed that the government is now bracing for a spike in demand for skills education as the country’s economy reopens with the number of infections starting to dip and many local government units (LGUs) hitting their targets for herd immunity.
Lapeña added that although the pandemic had disrupted the business landscape across the archipelago, we are witnessing the sudden appearance of long lines of delivery motorcycles in the streets (during the Luzon lockdown) thus indicating how skilled workers will now be needed by new industries that have sprouted to replace industries that closed shop during the health crisis.
He said that TESDA is already collaborating with other education agencies like the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) to manage the impact on the future workforce when schools closed because of the quarantine protocols and restrictions even as a skills mapping program has been started to establish how and why people are seeking new skills.
For his part, Eleazar lauded TESDA for its programs and efforts to train more Filipinos to develop skills that would make it easier for them to find employment or livelihood, noting that people trained by the agency have a 70 percent to 80 percent employability rating. Based on TESDA’s 2020 study of employment by its Technical-Vocational Education and Training (TVET) graduates, an estimated 71.2 percent of its 2019 graduates were found to be active in the country’s labor force.
However, despite the positive outlook, the study also found that about a third or more than 30 percent of unemployed 2019 TESDA graduates indicated they lost their jobs because of Covid-19.
In view of this, Eleazar vowed that if given the mandate by the electorate in the forthcoming May 9 elections next year, he would include in his legislative agenda skills-based training in order to provide Filipinos the tools for them to use in finding livelihood for themselves and their families.
“Malaki ang maitutulong natin sa ating mga kababayan kung magkakaroon sila ng mga skills para madaling makakuha sila ng trabaho at hanapbuhay. Ito ang dapat nating pagtuunan ng pansin para mapababa natin ang unemployment at mapaganda ang ating ekonomiya,” the Partido Reporma senatorial bet concluded. (ai/mtvn)