Students in Davao del Norte province who are graduating from high school this March, but who are wary about pursuing their education because of lack of money can turn to the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
In a recent visit to the province, TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva announced a P10-million worth of scholarship for those eyeing to take technical vocational courses.
The scholarship grant, which Villanueva turned over to local executives, was part of the P132 million allotted for the entire Davao region to open up more than 14,000 scholarship slots for schools and community-based programs of TESDA.
"Students, who are hard up on finances, are not without choices to continue their education. There is the tech-voc option," he said.
"From cooking and baking, to electrical repair, and information technology-related courses, TESDA has a lot to offer the youth. All they need to do is focus on what interests them and develop their skills through the classroom and hands-on training," Villanueva added.
During his visit to Panabo City, Villanueva also took part in a friendly basketball game dubbed "Shoot for Your Dream," which pitted Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) players and TESDA graduates.
Villanueva has organized the same basketball match in other provinces that he has visited as part of the TESDA activity and to gather support for tech-voc programs.
Playing alongside Villanueva were PBA greats Jerry Codinera, Kenneth Duremdes, Marlou Aquino, Bal David, Zaldy Realubit, Rodney Santos and Bobby Jose.
Noting that Davao region can make it big as a tourism hub, Villanueva stressed the need for more skilled workers in hotel and restaurant management while also saying that there is a huge market demand for construction industry-based skills such as welding and electrical installation maintenance.
Training the spotlight on out-of-school youth, Villanueva urged the young people to visit TESDA offices or its website to get to know more about the agency's programs.
"Our government is doing all it can to reach out to the youth, hone them and make them productive members of society, which in turn, will bring brighter prospects for their lives and that of their families," he said.
TESDA officials and local executives joined Villanueva during his Davao trip, led by Davao del Norte Governor Rodolfo del Rosario and Panabo City Mayor James Gamao.