Recent-graduate training seen as key to improving access to quality jobs

By John Victor D. Ordoñez, Reporter

SKILLS programs for recent graduates would be the most effective way to boost employment, giving jobseekers more specific skills suitable for modern workplaces, an official with a political party representing labor said.

“The government, through the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) or the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), should engage with companies to conduct on-the-job training programs and free seminars aimed at fresh graduates,” Renato B. Magtubo, chairman of Partido Manggagawa, said in a Viber message.

He was responding to a query about a Commission on Human Rights (CHR) finding that jobseekers leaving school during the pandemic are finding it difficult to land quality jobs due to a lack of skills typically developed in face-to-face classes.

“With fewer employment opportunities and more people competing for available jobs, young workers will find themselves competing with adults who have gained more relevant experience,” the CHR said in the report.

Jose Enrique A. Africa, executive director of the think tank IBON Foundation, said the report “flags very important concerns especially about the quality of learning in our educational system and possibly about how some youth can be better prepared for some jobs,” he said in a Viber message.

“From a broader perspective though, the more fundamental and overriding concern should be why the economy has such deep and widespread informality which protracted lockdowns just worsened.”

In a statement on Thursday, Department of Education (DepEd) spokesperson Michael T. Poa said the department is working to provide capacity-building programs for teachers.

“We will address the quality of entry-level teachers; unfilled teaching positions ancillary tasks assigned to teachers: unequal distribution of teachers; and poor skills in analysis which are crucial to the emerging economy,” he said.

Senator Aquilino Martin D. Pimentel III said in a statement on Wednesday that the results of the report were expected as the pandemic made everyday life more difficult.

“We have to invest in human capacity especially while our people are still young and equip them with skills that will be useful and practical in life,” he said.

The Philippines ranked 80th out of 133 countries in the Institut Européen d’Administration des Affaires’ (INSEAD) Global Competitive Index 2022. INSEAD evaluated how countries and cities grow, attract and retain talent.

The Department of Labor and Employment has said it is working on closing the gap between worker skills and employer needs this year through skill-building programs.

Jobless numbers increased by 4.3% in February to 2.48 million compared with January, the Philippine Statistics Authority said on Tuesday.

“Quality jobs to be performed well need quality employees that have acquired skills through face-to-face education and training,” Mr. Magtubo said.

“Employers will find it costly to train a newly hired employee before they can optimally perform said quality jobs.”