TESDA-Davao seeks partners for heavy equipment training

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DAVAO CITY — The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority’s (TESDA) Davao Region office is urging schools and construction companies to set up training programs for heavy equipment operators amid a shortage of skilled manpower to service the real estate and infrastructure boom.

TESDA Regional Director Gaspar S. Gayona said in an interview the agency is are ready to provide assistance in developing the curriculum as well as offer scholarships for developing a pool of trainers.

“We don’t have available trainers in Davao,” he said, adding that the agency can assist in “importing” trainers from Cebu “if the private sector offers to provide training centers.”

Mr. Gayona said the shortage in heavy equipment operators has been most pronounced in Davao City, where there has been a surge in property projects alongside the departure of operators for overseas work.

“We have no more heavy equipment operators, they have been pirated abroad,” he said.

The TESDA official said the need for skilled workers is expected to increase further as the administration gains momentum on its infrastructure projects under the Build-Build-Build program.

One of the major projects that will be rolled out in Davao starting next year is the first segment of the Mindanao Railway System, which will traverse the cities of Digos, Davao, and Tagum.

“We are appealing to the private sector,” Mr. Gayona said, to become partners in manpower development.

Apart from heavy equipment operators, there is also a need for more welders, machinery operators, and tourism sector workers. — Maya M. Padillo