PHILIPPINE Business for Education (PBEd) urged industries to continue helping raise the skill levels of young people during the public health emergency to ensure they are workplace ready.

In an online briefing Thursday, PBEd Executive Director Love Basillote said the pandemic has threatened livelihoods and employment opportunities for future generations.

“Given the obstacles we are facing, our youth need to come out of this pandemic more resilient than before. We need to listen to them and together come up with appropriate programs and policy interventions that will facilitate their transition to the new normal,” she said.

According to a survey conducted in March and April on 422 respondents between 15 and 25 years old, the lockdown affected young people in the form of school and workplace closures. The survey found that “97% of the respondents had stopped schooling, 86% lost their jobs, and 100% stopped their skills training.”

“The youth has plans to continue their education and look out for opportunities to upskill on other technical and life skills but technically there are no intentional efforts to cater to them,” according to PBEd Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Specialist Armand Aquino at the same briefing.

Life skills or 21st century skills need to be taught including communication skills, numeracy, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.

Youthworks PH, PBEd’s tie-up program with the United States Agency for International Development, launched the “Flexible Training for Work” program, a four-month online course for those aged 18 to 30 years. The 3,000 beneficiaries are in Metro Manila, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro City, Zamboanga City and General Santos City. — Gillian M. Cortez