September 18, 2023

Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Secretary/Director General Suharto Mangudadatu has assured the public that tech-voc graduates are job ready, and that technical vocational education and training remains the quickest and most cost-effective way for skilling, reskilling and upskilling Filipino workers.

This after a few lawmakers have pointed out that while tech-voc graduates have a high employment rate most earn below minimum wage.

“Our lawmakers may be looking at employment data gathered during the pandemic, when employers were forced to reduce their employees’ work hours due to prevailing restrictions,” explained Secretary Mangudadatu.

“Now that restrictions have been lifted and the country’s recovery is truly underway, our tech-voc graduates are again contributing significantly to the economy,” said the Secretary.

The TESDA head further indicated that the country’s tech-voc training programs are developed in close coordination with the industry to ensure that the knowledge, skills, and abilities are aligned with employers’ need.

“We continuously enter into partnerships with public and private companies and associations to get a very good idea of what employers and the industry require when it comes to workers’ competencies. By working with TESDA, these entities are essentially manifesting their confidence in Philippine TVET and its graduates,” said the TESDA chief.

A current study conducted by TESDA showed that more than 50% of tech-voc trainees have either had some college studies or are college graduates. This may indicate that employers prefer applicants that have employable and in-demand skills in addition to college degrees.

Thus, more than 90% of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) secure their National Certificates (NCs) before starting their jobs abroad, as these certificates more than sufficiently attest to their abilities.

Notably, following the pandemic concern, “A large number of our OFWs returned to the country after being laid off. Hence, these workers took tech-voc courses, mostly online, to learn new skills either to get ready when jobs begin to be available again or to start their own businesses,” shared the Secretary.

Further, Secretary Mangudadatu is adamant that cases of employers that give their employees, regardless of their educational backgrounds, salaries that are below the minimum wage, should immediately be addressed.

“I encourage our kababayans to report employers that give their personnel remunerations that are below the mandatory minimum wages to the Department of Labor. We have laws to protect our workers, and these laws should be upheld and followed to the letter,” stressed Secretary Mangudadatu.

It may also be recalled that the Second Congressional Commission on Education (EDCOM 2), the national commission currently undertaking a comprehensive national assessment and evaluation of the performance of the Philippine education sector, noted earlier this year that the minimum wage of jobseekers who have completed NC II is the same as that of college graduates.

According to the EDCOM, this gives TVET graduates an advantage since they can join the workforce sooner.


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