February 20, 2019

TESDA Director General, Secretary Isidro S. Lapeña has directed all the agency's regional and provincial directors to vigorously contact and tap the graduates of construction-related training from TESDA and other accredited schools in order to help address the bottleneck in the government's Build, Build, Build program.

This is aside from going full steam with the trainings provided by the agency and it's training institutions according to Lapeña.

In a report by TESDA, there were 234,546 graduates in construction and construction-related courses in 2018, up from the 83,649 graduates in 2017.

"This is a strong number that we can tap and hopefully, this will beef up the construction of projects and halt further delay," said Lapeña.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte recently ordered TESDA to train more workers in the field of construction.  The lack of skilled workers has caused slight delay in some infrastructure projects of the government under the said Build, Build, Buid program.

 “We have seen an increase of more than 180% at the end of 2018 in the number of graduates for construction and construction-related courses from the previous year’s numbers," Lapeña said.

 The increasing number of graduates is mainly due to the increase in the number of registered training programs for the sector.  There are 693 newly registered programs for construction, which make up about 23% of the total 3,049 of construction and construction-related registered programs.

TESDA also certified 279,237 workers in the sector in 2018, up from the 71,808 certified in 2017, an increase of almost 300%.  This jump is mostly due to the free assessments given last year by the agency, which also assessed and certified existing workers in addition to new tech-voc graduates.

At the moment, some 5,800 trainees are currently enrolled in different construction-related training programs such as Carpentry, Construction Painting, Electrical Installation and Maintenance, Welding, Heavy Equipment Operation, Instrumentation and Control Servicing, Masonry, Pipefitting, Plumbing, PV Systems Installation, Scaffold Erection, Shielded Metal Arc Welding, Technical Drafting and Tile Setting.

The President noted that skilled workers are going abroad instead of looking for employment in the country.  The President also mentioned that unemployed citizen on the other hand lack the qualifications and skills.

 “We agree with the President’s statements that the shortage of workers may be due to a large number of them going overseas, where wages are significantly higher.  In the country, the construction jobs available that offer higher compensations are those for highly specialized occupation like engineers and architects,” explained Lapeña.

Construction workers in the country expect to get the minimum daily wage of at least Php 500, depending on their experience and skill levels, and most of the jobs offer little security of tenure as most of them are project-based.

“There is a need to adjust wages and benefits in the sector to attract more applicants and trainees.  Construction work requires skills and entail significant risk, and unfortunately often considered as ‘dirty, dangerous and difficult’.  We should start to make these jobs more attractive, otherwise we stand to lose valuable human resource to other industries or even to other countries,” according to Sec. Lapeña.

TESDA is also continuously strengthening its ties with industries to streamline delivery of training and ensure that the skills taught match the requirements and standards of employers.  Further, other strategies such as encouraging the participation of industries in dual-training and enterprise-based training, as well as adopting training-cum-production schemes are being utilized to better expose trainees to actual work environments.

During the Focused Group Discussion (FGD) on the Skills Requirements for the Build Build Build Program conducted by TESDA in 2018, different stakeholders in construction and other related sectors helped identify the skills needed by the Program.  The hard to fill positions in the sector include leadman, foreman, heavy equipment operators (mixer, bulldozer, paver, mobile crane), sheet filing operators and vibro machine operators.

The FGD participants also identified the workers that are most needed by the program such as riggers, Hydraulic operators, masons, steel men/workers, carpenters, plumbers, heavy equipment mechanics, scaffolders, riggers, surveyors, and spotters.

TESDA has also targeted for training interventions vulnerable social groups such as the poor, underprivileged and undereducated as part of its “TESDA, Abot Lahat” direction.

 “We would like to provide access to training to as many of our kababayan as possible, especially those who have the least chance of getting trained and yet with the proper skills training, they will possibly find employment or other means of income,” added Lapeña

Construction and construction-related qualifications include Masonry, Carpentry, Tile Setting, Plumbing, Scaffold Erection, Pipefitting, Electrical Installation and Maintenance, Welding, and Heavy Equipment operation, among others.