11 August 2011
The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) is pitching in its expertise in technical vocational training to help Bataan’s freeport area become an established business center.
Close to 6,000 jobs are expected to be available in the Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB), which has been chosen by the Luen Thai Philippines as its site for its fabric mill and garments-related business.
TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva witnessed the recent signing of the memorandum of agreement between AFAB and Luen Thai and pledged to throw the agency's support by supplying the manpower needed by companies in the area.
"TESDA shall go where investments are, where there are opportunities for jobs, where technical vocational graduates can land jobs,” Villanueva said in his keynote address during the signing of the agreement.
Luen Thai, a Hong Kong-based firm, plans to expand its supply chain investments in the country through the establishment of a cotton fabric mill, water treatment facility, cotton knit facility, and cotton knit factory, wash facility and other subsidiary support garment factories.
Luen Thai's investments in Bataan's Freeport area alone are estimated to reach $30 million when completed.
Bataan Representative Albert Garcia thanked TESDA for partnering with the local government to help develop business in the freeport zone.
"As we pursue development in the province and in the region, we recognize the need to work with other agencies of government such as TESDA, which we know can provide the skilled workforce required by our investors," Garcia said.
Villanueva said the partnership between the local government and Luen Thai signals the growth of investments in the freeport area as new locators are expected to come in.
"More investments mean more jobs. More jobs bring employment opportunities for qualified and skilled workers. Employment provides income and means of livelihood for the people," he said.
Employment will only be realized, the TESDA chief said, if the people have the necessary skills.
Villanueva said TESDA has pool of skilled workers in the province ready to take on jobs.
At present, there are four technical vocational education and training institutions in Bataan focusing on dressmaking and sewing that produces an average of 156 to 200 graduates a year.
The three training centers are the Regional Training Center Central Luzon-Mariveles, Provincial Training Center-Orion, Bataan School of Fisheries, and Carmen’s Fashion, a private training institution.
The training institutions continue to supply the workforce, specifically dressmakers and sewers, to the 14 companies now operating in the freeport area.
According to Villanueva, there are currently about 5,800 sewers, majority of which are TESDA graduates working in the said companies.
Some of the companies have expressed intention to hire more sewers for their expansion projects.
TESDA is also implementing the dual training system (DTS), one of its flagship programs, to ensure that the manpower made available to the industry are job-fit and ready for the task.
Under the DTS, training takes place in the training center or school and in the partner-company within one and half to two years.
The training is tailor-fit based on the needs of the partner industries, including their employment requirements such physical and behavioral domain of workers.
This system assures participating companies of optimum benefits because the workers they would be hiring are trained according to their needs, standards, and facilities.
TESDA will also provide technical assistance in terms of manpower supply through the conduct of competency assessment for walk-in sewers, and those who have completed the in-plant training phase of their DTS scheme.
Villanueva called on officials of the freeport zone and the local government to assist TESDA in providing information and update on priority skills needed by the investors.
"These vital signals shall serve as concrete basis in aligning the course offerings of the TVET providers, and open doors for partnership through enterprise-based training, primarily the DTS and apprenticeship," he said.