Lapeña pushes agenda to make TESDA more accessible, relevant

June 5, 2019

Secretary Isidro ‘Sid’ Lapeña, director general of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), has ordered the renovation and improvements of all the training schools nationwide in order to accommodate as many scholars which the agency plans to absorb in the coming months. 

Working under the ‘TESDA Abot Lahat’ slogan which Lapeña initiated when he assumed the post in October last year, the TESDA Director General wants to increase the number of TESDA scholars to include more members of the New People’s Army (NPA) who surrendered to the government, former drug pushers and users who also surrendered to the government, and even Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who were repatriated for various reasons. 

Based on the TESDA data from January to May 29 this year, a total of 1,290 former communist rebels have graduated from TESDA-assisted skills training all over the country while a total of 3,718 former drug pushers and users have also finished the training programs for various skills which they availed for. 

“These people need all the assistance they could get from the government to start a new life. By including them in our free training programs, we want to make them feel that they will never be abandoned, that the government is sincere in helping them,” said Lapeña. 

"Our regional and provincial offices are actively providing training programs for former rebels. We are also helping them find employment or livelihood after training," he added. 

Aside from former rebels and illegal drug offenders, Lapeña also initiated the opening of more scholarships for indigenous peoples and even inmates through onsite skills training. 

A total of 22,398 indigenous peoples mostly from Cordillera Administrative Region have also graduated along with 3,573 inmates from January to May 29 of this year. 
Under the same period, a total of 15,745 repatriated/returning OFWs received training and graduated. 

In addition and in line with the Duterte Administration’s Build Build Build program, TESDA has also intensified skills training in construction-related competencies to fast track the infrastructure building and to provide employment to the Filipino labor force. For the year 2018 up to May 29, 2019, a total of 38,401 graduates from construction skills training were already employed. 

Lapeña said the renovation and improvement he ordered would pave the way for accommodation of more scholars and availability of relevant and in-demand skills for local and international employment. 

By improvements, he said, it means hiring of more competent trainers. 

“It should be a priority for us to continuously produce good trainers that would produce more globally-competitive skilled workers,” said Lapeña. 

‘TESDA Abot Lahat’ is essentially the guiding principle of the agency in actively providing relevant, accessible, high quality, and efficient technical education and skills development as its mandate. The agency provides different training programs for mostly industry-demanded competencies and puts up a big number of scholarship slots as well to help more Filipinos get skills training. 

Other initiatives of TESDA which were initiated by Secretary Lapeña is the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with nine online manpower service providers to launch the “911 TESDA” mobile online platform that aims to connect jobs to skilled TVET graduates on May 23 and launching of onsite skills training in partnership with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and other government-partner contractors last April. 

TESDA, in partnership with the Department of Transportation, also launched several ‘Tsuper Iskolar’ scholarship programs in Pangasinan and Davao to help the drivers and their dependents that may be affected by the PUV Modernization Program. Other scholarship launchings will soon take place in major parts of the country.

At the same time, TESDA continues to forge more partnerships with other government agencies and industry sectors to update their training programs with the industry demands and to extend the TESDA service to more Filipinos, again echoing the agency’s Abot Lahat principle. 

"We will launch more programs and activities especially that TESDA is nearing its 25th anniversary this August. To sum up, my agenda is simply for TESDA to be felt by our kababayan, for TESDA to be able to help those in the lower strata of society." 

Meanwhile, the agency would like to report its 2018 data which showed Bread and Pastry Production NC II which nominally runs for about 18 days, as the most popular course. This training course produced 55,928 graduates last year. The second, fourth, and fifth most popular courses in 2018 were mostly from the tourism industry, namely: Food and Beverage Services NC II, Cookery NC II, and Housekeeping NC II, respectively. The only Metals and Engineering course in in the top 5 in 2018 is the Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) NC II.

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