By Vergel Garcia

TECHNICAL Education and Skills Development Authority Director General Suharto Mangudadatu assured the public that tech-voc graduates are job ready, and that technical vocational education and training remains the quickest and most cost-effective way for skilling, reskilling and upskilling Filipino workers.

He issued the statement after some lawmakers lamented that tech-voc graduates earn below minimum wage.

“Our lawmakers may be looking at employment data gathered during the pandemic, when employers were forced to reduce their employees’ work hours due to prevailing restrictions,” Mangudadatu said.

“Now that restrictions have been lifted and the country’s recovery is truly underway, our tech-voc graduates are again contributing significantly to the economy,” he added.

He said cases of employers giving below minimum salaries should immediately be addressed.

“I encourage our kababayans to report employers that give their personnel remunerations that are below the mandatory minimum wages to the Department of Labor. We have laws to protect our workers, and these laws should be upheld and followed to the letter,” the TESDA chief said.

Mangudadatu said that tech-voc training programs are developed in close coordination with the industry to ensure that the knowledge, skills, and abilities are aligned with employers’ need.

“We continuously enter into partnerships with public and private companies and associations to get a very good idea of what employers and the industry require when it comes to workers’ competencies. By working with TESDA, these entities are essentially manifesting their confidence in Philippine TVET and its graduates,” he said.

A study conducted by TESDA showed that more than 50 percent of tech-voc trainees have either had some college studies or are college graduates. This may indicate that employers prefer applicants that have employable and in-demand skills in addition to college degrees.

Thus, more than 90 percent of overseas Filipino workers secure their National Certificates before starting their jobs abroad, as these certificates attest to their abilities.