Technical vocation (tech-voc) has soared new heights as the number of graduates increased tremendously and as demand for skilled workers brought tech-voc graduates to record peak.
During the administration of President Benigno Aquino III from July 2010 up to June 2014, tech-voc graduates reached a total of 6,281,328, according to records of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
TESDA data further revealed that from January 1986 to June 2014, there were a total of 21,700,308 tech-voc graduates in the country.
The first four years of the Aquino administration also showed a spike in the number of graduates assessed and certified by TESDA. From July 2010 to January 2014, there were 3,781,737 graduates who took the competency assessment and out of these, 3,289,179 were issued National Certificates.
TESDA graduates do not remain idle after training, but easily join the workforce either in the country or abroad. Based on the 2013 Impact Evaluation Survey (IES), employment rate of graduates was at 65.3 percent, the highest in the history of the agency.
Employment rate was higher at 91.4 percent for graduates of electronics and semiconductor program, while it was 70.9 percent for those finishing courses related to information technology-business process management.
As it marks its 20th founding anniversary, TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva said the agency would continue riding high on its mandate of delivering quality and relevant technical vocational education to Filipinos.
"Slowly, we have unlocked the potential of technical vocational education, greatly reduced the social bias against it, and made its impact felt in tackling unemployment," TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva said.
"The youth, women, workers, and returning overseas Filipino workers now say that technical vocational education is their future," he added.
At the forefront of TESDA's scholarship programs are the Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP) and the Private Education Student Financial Assistance (PESFA), which have become vehicles for providing the free training to the scholars.
A direct financial intervention to students, the TWSP was able to assist 91,218 students in finishing their tech-voc courses in 2013.
As for PESFA, a total of 19,046 students completed their courses for 2013.
Review of Training Regulations and development of new ones were given focus by TESDA during the Aquino administration to ensure that courses offered are those needed by industries and to keep up with the technological advancement in the market.
TESDA also laid the groundwork for the Philippine Qualifications Framework (PQF), which serves as the agency's guide in preparing Filipino students into the labor force and harmonizes basic education, technical vocational education and higher education into a nationwide schedule of skills and competencies.
With the PQF and the competency-based technical vocational education and training system introduced in TESDA, students gain a clearer picture of the competencies they need for their job interests, while employers are able to easily identify the basic work-skills their employees must possess.
Assessment and certification were given top priority as an essential component of post-training support to graduates to prepare them for employment. TESDA offices nationwide offer assessment services on a regular basis. Those who pass the assessment are automatically issued National Certificate that serves as their seal of excellence in their chosen field.
Employer satisfaction was at an all-time high when it comes to work performance of tech-voc graduates. In an Employer Satisfaction Survey (ESS), majority or 86 percent of the 5,451 public and private establishments that were polled said they were satisfied with the work performance of tech-voc graduates. When asked if they would continue to hire tech-voc graduates, 86.9 percent responded positively.
Being at the forefront of tech-voc education, TESDA ensures that trainers all over the country are constantly honed and beefed up. For 2013, a total of 8,398 trainers underwent the Trainers Development Program to strengthen their competencies in the areas of instructional delivery and facilitation, competency assessment and maintenance of training resources and facilities.
Others took more specialized training in developing program designs, curriculum, learning materials for both traditional and e-learning programs, assessment tools and analysis of training needs of particular clients or institutions.
TESDA likewise expanded its online training program and increased the number of courses it offers to those interested in studying tech-voc courses via the internet. This scheme allows even overseas Filipino workers to access tech-voc and gain additional or new skills.
To effectively pursue its programs and to expand the reach of its services, TESDA actively entered into joint ventures with private organizations. It has forged partnerships with Coca Cola, Holcim, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP), Autodesk Inc., Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, World Vision, Garments Business Association of the Philippines, Healthcare Information Management Outsourcing Association of the Philippines (HIMOAP), Ginebra San Miguel (GSM) Inc., Philippine Software Industry Association (PSIA), Makati Development Corporation (MDC), Philippine Society of Plumbing Engineers (PSPE) Inc., Philippine Society of Ventilating, Air-Conditioning and Refrigerating Engineers (PSVARE) Inc., Association of Carriers and Equipment Lessors (ACEL), Cebu Contractors Association (CCA)., ABS-CBN's Bayan Academy, Animation Council of the Philippines (ACPI), Semi-Conductor and electronics Association of the Philippines (SEIPI), E. Zobel Foundation Inc., Federation of Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (FFCCCII) and other industry partners and business groups to widen access of tech-voc in the country.
Venturing into providing green skills for green jobs, TESDA has built the Green Innovation Technology Center at its complex in Taguig City to help cultivate green technical vocational education and training in the country.
Partnering with My Shelter Foundation, the agency was able to mobilize trainees who assembled portable solar night lights that were distributed to typhoon-devastated areas in the Visayas regions.
TESDA also continued to engage in sustainable convergence with other government agencies, such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for the implementation of the Cash for Training Program. In 2013, the project yielded a total of 61,114 graduates. Of this, 65 percent or 39,518 are now salaried employees or are self-employed.
Production of school armchairs using confiscated logs is also ongoing under the PNoy Bayanihan Project of TESDA together with the Department of Education, Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation. The multi-agency partnership is being intensified to help eradicate backlogs in armchairs in public schools.
"Towards the fifth year of the Aquino administration, TESDA will continue to enhance its programs and projects, and strengthen its partnerships to be more relevant and responsive to the economy's future skills requirements," Villanueva said. END