President may increase TESDA training budget

Posted on February 11, 2012

President Benigno S.C. Aquino III may add to the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) budget for training of workers in the Information Technology-Business Process Outsourcing (IT-BPO) sector, while urging the agency to provide link-ups to employment for the rest of its graduates.

“Sa ilalim po ng ating economic stimulus program, nagsalin tayo ng limandaang milyong pisong pondo sa TESDA para sa pagsasanay ng animnapu’t limang libong scholars upang makapasok sa BPO industry (Under our economic stimulus program, we provided P500 million to TESDA for the training of 65,000 scholars, who will enter the BPO industry),” said Mr. Aquino, in a speech on Friday, at the launch of TESDA Specialista Technopreneurship Program (TSTP).

“Siyempre po, pag-nagtagumpay yan, meron pa ring darating na kasunod (Of course, if this is successful, there will be more to come),” committed the President.

TESDA, together with the local BPO industry players, has been coordinating in the expanded IT-BPO Industry-Based Training Work Scholarship Program (I-TWSP). Specifically, the Business Processing Association of the Philippines has committed that at least 70% of the graduates will be hired six months after they finish the course.

Mr. Aquino said that so far he is happy with the results of the TESDA program, but indicated that he would be far more satisfied if every individual who underwent training gets employed immediately.

TESDA Director-General Joel J. Villanueva indicated that so far, out of the P500 million released, P164,559,500 was obligated to training personnel of BPOs that passed quality management standards; the remaining balance -- P335,440,500 -- is to be utilized for further training in other sectors such as animation and computer programming, among others.

“More than 70% of our graduates are hired as trainees,” assured Mr. Villanueva, by phone.

Department of Education head Armin A. Luistro, who was present at the launch on Friday, lauded TESDA for the public-private partnership project in BPO training.

“This is one of the most successful projects of TESDA. Derecha kasi ito, tinutulungan din nila hindi lang pagkatapos ng kurso, meron pa silang yung kit, tapos may (This is direct, they help Filipinos not only finish the course, they also have a kit and) referral system...,” said Mr. Luistro.

“In my estimation, that is the good link, to be able to monitor, not just to have graduates, but to have a link to the industry so they are hired),” said Mr. Luistro in the vernacular.

Mr. Aquino had previously underscored the importance of bridging the gap between workers’ technical skills and the needs of the IT-BPO sector, as the projected increase of full-time employees is 610,000 and that of revenues is $11 billion for 2011.

He noted that in 2010, the sector generated revenues of $8.9 billion and produced full-time employment for more than half a million Filipinos -- over 100,000 of which came from back-office or knowledge process outsourcing.

Mr. Aquino noted that the 2011 Impact Evaluation Study has shown that to date, more than 69% of the 2009 graduates of the Technical-Vocational and Educational Training (TVET) programs of TESDA have been employed.

A total of 168,740 scholars graduated from 125 TESDA Technology Institutions (TTIs) nationwide in 2009, which would mean that at least 116,000 have already found jobs.

“Of course, we still lack jobs for the 39%, and we should give them attention so that they can also receive work,” said the President in the vernacular.

Mr. Aquino said that the government is focused on providing its certified graduates the chance to set up their own businesses -- including the over 5,000 individuals who will graduate from the TVET program this year.

“This January alone, over 3,600 TVET graduates were assisted by TSTP... I am confident that we will reach out target of over 5,000 graduates this 2012,” said Mr. Aquino in Tagalog. -- Johanna D. Poblete