Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva exhorted employers and companies to invest in technical vocational graduates as he pitched for their continuous training to match the skills demand of industries.
“Our technical vocational education is among the best in the world. We have a pool of talent who can get every job done,” he said as the country celebrates National Tech-Voc Day.
The August 25 event was institutionalized with the enactment into law of Republic Act No. 10970 which Villanueva authored.
“Job-ready and adept in their field, tech-voc graduates hold a vast potential in contributing to our way out of the pandemic,” he added.
Villanueva said that for every person hired, a family is given the opportunity to rise out of poverty and prosper.
“Dreams put on hold when the pandemic struck will now become a possibility,” he said.
The senator said the country is faced with the challenge of finding employment for its population as businesses are still finding their footing after the pandemic-induced economic slump.
The Philippine Statistics Authority data showed the jobless rate in June 2022 reached 6 percent or 2.99 million Filipinos.
While millions are on the lookout for jobs, the Commission on Population and Development said the country needs at least six million effective workers to address the population of consumers.
Villanueva said the country has a good number of people in the workforce, including senior citizens and retirees.
“When it comes to work, ability over age should matter,” Villanueva said.
“We should exert all efforts to hone or teach new skills to our elderly to make them employable anew,” he said.
He urged the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), which he formerly heads, to continuously involve the private sector in providing skills training to boost the graduates’ chances of getting hired.
One of the bills filed by Villanueva in the 19th Congress, Senate Bill No. 363 or the proposed Enterprise-based Education and Training to Employment Act, seeks to strengthen tech-voc education by incorporating apprenticeship and dual training systems and giving continuous skills enhancement to the unemployed.
Villanueva said there is a need to strengthen private sector participation in tech-voc education and training through enterprise-based training not only to resolve job-skills mismatch but also to ensure adequate supply of relevant skills that industries need.
“The bill can help the government continue to meet the changing needs of the market and put in place good governance mechanisms that can expand partnership with industry associations and companies through enterprise-based training,” he said.
“The measure will also prove that our graduates are job-ready. Tech-voc training is one of the best public-private partnerships we can have,” he added.