TESDA move to labor department aims to address 'jobs-skills mismatch'

Arra Perez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 29 2022 03:34 PM | Updated as of Sep 29 2022 06:11 PM

 ABS-CBN News
Students pasteurize bottles of mango jam for longer shelf life during their class on Food Processing at the Pasay Makati District Training and Assessment Center (PMDTAC) inside the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) complex in Taguig City on March 10, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) said Thursday its transfer under the Department of Labor and Employment would pave the way for better coordination and skills development training.

The TESDA was previously an attached agency of the Department of Trade and Industry.

TESDA Deputy Director General Aniceto Bertiz III said the move would address "jobs-skills mismatch," by training learners based on the needs of the industry.

"We are focusing more on area-based, demand-driven TVET (technical-vocational education and training) program. It is no longer a supply-driven TVET, but area-based demand-driven program. Ito po iyong mga industry-based," Bertiz told ABS-CBN News.

"Since na ang Department of Labor ang namamahala sa ating mga kompanya at sa ating mga paggawa, so mas nakikita natin iyong ating mga TVET graduates will land a better job or also will help the industry," he said.

(This is industry-based. Since the Department of Labor oversees all our companies and workers, we could better see to it that our TVET graduates will land better jobs.)

From 2018 to September 2022, TESDA listed 7.5 million enrollees and 6.9 million graduates.

Bertiz said the agency plans to produce more highly skilled learners through its diploma courses.

"Tumataas din po ang bilang ng ating mga learners pagdating po sa ating agrikultura. Hindi lamang po iyong mga talagang traditional farmers, so iyong mga matatanda na, pati na rin po iyong mga kabataan. Kasi nga meron na tayong digital agricultures, iyong mga tinatawag nating mga crop productions, animal productions, preparations, iyong mga organic farming natin that we are offering," he explained.

(Our learners in agriculture are increasing, not just the traditional farmers, but the youth. This is because we have courses on digital agriculture, crop and animal production, preparations, organic farming.) 

"Nagiging interesado ang ating mga learners, pati iyong mga kabataan. Lalong-lalo na doon sa diploma courses natin na wala silang binabayaran na tuition fee at may mga allowance pa po sila," he added.

(Learners, including the youth, become interested especially in our diploma courses, where they don't pay any tuition and even receive allowances.) 

TESDA has some 500 registered diploma courses nationwide, including those in the field of engineering, IT, and agriculture. These are 3-year ladderized programs, open to all senior high school graduates.

Bertiz said graduates of diploma courses may either aim for employment through the agency's partner industries or enroll in 4-year courses in colleges and universities.

All graduates of TESDA diploma courses will get 12 national certifications based on the course they finished.

Based on the Study on the Employment of TVET Graduates, the employment rate of TESDA graduates was at 78.57 percent in 2021, up from 70.51 percent in 2020 - both years under the COVID pandemic. 

According to the agency, this translates to "7 out of 10 graduates obtaining employment after they graduate from TESDA."

Bertiz said 48 percent of enrollees are also graduates of 4-year courses, and wanted to hone their skills through TESDA for better chances of finding jobs.

The list of training and diploma courses may be accessed through the TESDA website. These are all free, and students are also provided with an allowance of up to P160 per day.

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For his part, Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma said jobseekers are assured of more programs that could help boost their skills now that TESDA and DOLE are working together.

“Hindi lamang yan doon sa mga prospective applicants, pati yung mga nagtatrabaho na, meron silang pagkakataon na dagdagan yung kanilang kasanayan, i-upgrade yung kanilang skills,” he said.

(This is not just for prospective applicants, this is also for those who are already working. They have a chance to upgrade their skills.)

“Nang sa ganoon, medyo makikita natin na aangat sila doon sa tinatawag natin na lower-paying jobs o lower skills na categories at sana mapunta sila doon sa middle o kaya yung highly-skilled na trabaho, na nangangahulugan ng mas permanenting trabaho, mas remunerative na position at mas secured, yung medyo pang-matagalan, hindi yung temporary lamang,” he added.

(That way, we can see them move up from power-paying jobs or lower skills categories to middle or even highly-skilled jobs, which means permanent positions, remunerative positions that are more secured and not just temporary.) 

The official also said he does not see a need to reorganize TESDA following its transfer under the labor department. 

“Alam po naman po na ang karamihan po, kung di man po lahat halos ng ating mga kasamahan sa TESDA ay competent po, may kasanayan at may kaalaman sa kanilang trabaho,” he said.

(We know that most, if not all, of our personnel in TESDA are competent and can do their jobs well.)

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