In a city regarded as the country's alternate metropolis with a continuously booming economy, Cebu's youth could be sitting in a sweet spot.
Industries are growing and tourism is up, which could translate to job and entrepreneurial opportunities, according to Director General Joel Villanueva of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
There's a missing element, though, for the youth to have a crack at employment — skills.
A series of activities in Cebu City and the nearby Mandaue City that included skills demonstration, fun run and link-up with the private sector showed that TESDA was going full blast in making technical vocational (tech-voc) education accessible and available to the future workforce, Villanueva said.
"For 2015, Cebu gets a funding of P75.78 million for the education of 7,375 scholars. This represents 51 percent of the total budget of P149.12 million for the entire region targeting close to 15,000 scholars," Villanueva said.
The scholarships are lodged in four programs of TESDA — Training for Work Scholarship Program, Private Education Student Financial Assistance, the Bottom-up Budgeting, and Special Training for Employment Program, he said.
"Education underpins all economic development. It's the tool of the most ambitious governments in these technological times," Villanueva added.
The TESDA chief noted the feat achieved by two Cebuanos — Ingrid Ponce and Myrna Pitaluna — after they graduated from their respective courses.
For lack of money, Ponce could not go to college and thus, enrolled in a tech-voc course that few women engage in - shielded metal arc welding and gas metal arc welding. Finding her niche in this trade, Ponce landed in a job in Japan, which changed the life of her family.
Pitaluna of Toledo City also finished shielded metal arc welding and added heavy equipment operation to her skills. She took additional training to be a certified assessor and trainer. She was awarded as Idol ng TESDA in 2013.
The March 5 event in Cebu was carried out through the Training Trabaho Program, which intensified its tech-voc education campaign to bring in more people to avail of the programs of TESDA.
The event kicked off with a series of media guesting by Villanueva, who explained the various programs of TESDA and how the public can access them.
This was followed by the showcase of the skills of the trainees in cookery, food and beverage servicing, household services and barista. Villanueva, a holder of National Certificate, also joined the skills showdown with his skills in coffee making.
The TESDA chief shared the boodle fight lunch with the trainees.
TESDA also signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Metro Wear Inc. for the training of its workers and with ABS-CBN to help promote tech-voc through various media activities.
On March 7 at the Cebu Business Park, Villanueva joined the fun run organized by the Cebu Association of Private Technical-Vocational Institution aimed to raise funds for the transportation and food allowance of scholars.
Villanueva said that TESDA would continue being active in organizing tech-voc-related events in the city with the help of the local government unit and the private sector.
The Skills Demonstration activity was organized with the assistance of the University of Cebu led by the its president, lawyer Augusto Go, its chancellor, Candice Gotianuy, and administrators of technical vocational institutions (TVIs) and TESDA technology institutes (TTIs) who took part in the demo.
The Fun Run was organized by the TVIs and TTIs and various national government agencies — Department of Health, Department of Labor and Employment, Bureau of Customs, Philippine National Police-Regional Training Center VII, Naval Forces and Provincial Environment and Natural Resources office. END