WORKERS displaced by the lingering coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) crisis are being encouraged to avail of the government’s free skills retooling programs so they can transition to new jobs, or put up micro-enterprises.
The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has a wide range of highly specialized courses meant to enable laid off workers to find new employment or self-employment opportunities, said Aniceto Bertiz III, the agency’s deputy director-general for partnerships and linkages.
“Aircraft maintenance technicians who lost their jobs, for instance, might want to venture into automotive or heavy equipment servicing, while separated restaurant food servers might want to go into home-based bread and pastry production,” Bertiz, a former congressman, said.
“Learners can take their newly acquired practical skills wherever they may want to go – whether they decide to enlist in the Balik Probinsya Program, or look for jobs overseas,” according to Bertiz, a former member of Congress representing the ACTS-OFW Coalition of Organizations.
Bertiz urged those aspiring to gain “new applied and employable skills” to visit the TESDA website, which also has a listing of the nearest training center offering their desired courses.
TESDA also has courses available via remote or distance learning, Bertiz pointed out.
“We have ample funding for our programs, and we should be able to serve a greater number of apprentices, as the government is readying even more money for 2021,” Bertiz said.
In the 2021 national budget endorsed by President Rodrigo Duterte to Congress, Bertiz said the government is investing in TESDA a total of P13.5 billion in new appropriations, including: P3.6 billion for the Training for Work Scholarship Program; P2.9 billion for the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Program; P1.5 billion for the Special Training for Employment Program; and P1 billion for the Tulong Trabaho Fund.
The Training for Work Scholarship Program provides courses designed to qualify apprentices for jobs in agri-fishery, agri-business, agro-industrial, information technology-business process management, semiconductor and electronics, and other priority manufacturing industries, logistics, general infrastructure, as well as new and emerging sectors.
The Special Training for Employment Program promotes community-based specialty skills training, primarily for those belonging to indigent families under the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction and families reliant on the informal economy.
The Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Program gives tuition and other forms of subsidy to students enrolled in accredited technical vocational schools.
The Tulong Trabaho Fund supports innovative skills training based on evolving and specified industry demands as well as critical competency shortages.