MANILA -- The German government will introduce in the country its dual vocational education training (VET) program to help graduating students meet the rising skills demand of private businesses, particularly German firms.
And while the upgrading of skills of Filipino graduates are in progress, the head of the German-Philippines Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GPCCI) said foreign businesses that are expanding their operations in the country also need to be assured of continuity and transparency in the investment rules.
For instance, GPCCI President Dr.Gunter Matschuck said many of their members have suffered delays in the delivery of their shipments for almost two weeks due to the recent problems that affected the operation of the Bureau of Customs.
He raised such concern in reaction to Moody’s newest credit-rating upgrade for the Philippines.
Matschuck said a sound business environment “requires continuity of the [government] rules.”
Nadine Fund, general manager of the GPCCI, said Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has tasked the GPCCI to implement the three-year dual VET program beginning 2014.
She said the Philippines was picked from four emerging economies that were shortlisted to benefit from Germany’s dual VET program. The list includes Thailand, Mexico and Peru.
Germany’s Continental Temic Electronics is one of the companies that will need additional manpower requirements to support their expansion program.
Continental Temic has poured in some €50 million in expanding its operations in the Philippines, according to its General Manager Detlev von Ramm.
He said the firm will be needing around 100 new engineers for the development of radar, camera software, as well as crash impact-protection technology for vehicles.
Ramm said Continental has partnered with the Mapua Institute of Technology to implement the German model of dual VET to ensure a sustainable supply of engineers for the firm.
The dual VET has benefited Germany a lot, he said, making the country resilient amid the euro-zone crisis.
She said Germany’s youth unemployment remains below 8 percent as against Spain’s 56 percent and Italy’s 38 percent.
The German government allocates a seed capital of €3 million with additional funding from GIZ and the DIHK (German Chamber Network).
Fund said the successful system has been touted as “Germany’s latest export hit,” with other European countries showing interest in adopting it.
The GPCCI noted studies showing one of the core challenges of industries in the Philippines is the lack of a practical-oriented technical and vocational training.
The acquired competencies of graduates do not sufficiently meet workplace requirements and thus, many of them need to be additionally trained on the job, Fund said.
“The growing economy leads to a higher demand of a skilled work force, which was recently addressed by the Philippine government with the K to 12 reform. The reform extends high school for two more years, including vocational-oriented education in order to meet international standards. But this will not be enough to tackle the lack of skills of the higher education graduates,” Fund pointed out.
She added that fluency in English, one of the edges of Filipino workers, will no longer be enough to compete with the neighboring countries, especially when the Asean Economic Community begins in 2015. Introducing VET is urgently needed to overcome the problem, she added.