MANILA, Philippines – The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) is offering foreign language classes to help Filipinos develop what it calls a "hot job skill."
TESDA has workplace language programs for English, Nihonggo, Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin and Korean.
TESDA Sec. Joel Villanueva said that while most of the graduates pursue careers as interpreters and translators, others also find opportunities in being tutors or tour guides.
"Sa aming experience, napakalaking advantage para sa isang Filipino na naga-apply ng trabaho na malagay niya na siya ay nakakapagsalita ng ibang language," said Villanueva.
"Ito ang gusto ng mga employers kaya nga nakikita natin na ito ay hot job skill na pwede din nating pagtuunan ng pansin," he added.
Aside from Japanese that requires 150 hours, each foreign language class takes only a hundred hours to complete.
One of TESDA’s teachers, Danny Ocmer, works as a Japanese translator and interpreter when he is not teaching Japanese classes.
He said that depending on the client, he gets paid as much as P1,000 per hour.
Many of Ocmer's students in TESDA are set to work in Japan as caregivers and nurses.
But TESDA said they can get high-paying jobs even if they just stay here in the Philippines.
"If you go to Laguna or Cavite, maraming mga translators at interpreters ng Japanese doon, primarily kasi madaming Japanese companies doon and they need Filipinos who can speak and understand Nihonggo," said Ocmer.
A housewife, Evelyn Arante, said she has been a housewife for so many years, but now she has made the decision to study Nihonggo.
The 47-year-old Arante plans to work as a multilingual agent in a call center.
She said that aside from a bigger pay, she gets an additional incentive or foreign language premium.
TESDA has 35 language skills institutes nationwide.