TESDA urges private firms to adopt 'apprenticeship' program

03 September 2011

Director General Joel Villanueva of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has made a strong pitch to corporations to revive and strengthen their apprenticeship programs and hire qualified trainees as part of their workforce.

Villanueva told employers during the 1st Central Luzon Industry Forum recently held at the Clark Freeport Zone that government programs such as TESDA's Enterprise-Based Training (EBT) are in place and provide firms effective ways of hiring the workers they need from those they have previously trained.

"The Enterprise-Based Training through the apprenticeship program involves learning the skills the practical way, at the workplace," Villanueva said at the 1st Central Luzon Industry Forum held recently at the Clark Freeport Zone.

"For example, one learns baking by working with, observing and imitating an experienced baker or tutor," he added.

The TESDA chief said there is a need to push apprenticeship program "because it has always been proven that the best place to acquire skills is in the workplace."

Formal apprenticeship has fallen by the wayside as a method for training future workers as can be gauged by the number of companies that are at present actively engage in it.

In Central Luzon, he said, there are more than 3,600 companies and industries, but only 39 are linked with TESDA in the implementation of enterprise-based training and on-the-job training.

Villanueva rallied the region to lead the way in implementing the EBT being one of the country's industrial hubs, which has a high demand for technical vocational workers.

Strengthening and expanding the implementation of the EBT is one of the main thrusts of TESDA under the new administration.

The EBT program reinforces the adoption of an industry-led manpower development strategy to improve productivity and product quality, and enhance trainees’ employability with emphasis on work ethics development.

The EBT is implemented through various modalities; the apprenticeship and learnership programs (AP/LP), dual training system/dualized training program (DTS/DTP) and on-the-job training (OJT) program.

Institutionalized through the enactment of Republic Act 7686 in 1994, the DTS is an instructional delivery system of technical and vocational education and training that combines in-plant and in-school training, based on a training plan designed and implemented by accredited dual system agricultural, industrial and business establishments.

On the other hand, the DTP is a transitory phased implementation strategy of the Dual Training System where one or two of the five elements of the DTS as defined in RA 7686 are introduced over a given time.

The OJT Program/Practicum has become an integral part of the curriculum of the technical vocational programs where students are exposed to actual operations and hands on training in selected companies.

Villanueva said these training schemes while enhancing the partnership between the industry and technical vocational education training providers also ensures a steady supply of best job-fit and ready workforce.

"The DTS has been tested and proven to be an effective training-modality in other regions, specifically in Region 4A, to address the perennial problem on labor-skills mismatch," he said.

"By adopting the standards of the company in hiring workers, level of technology, equipment and facilities, schools can purposively produce trainees and consequently, workers that are genuinely employable," the TESDA chief said.

Ensuring employment to skilled workers after the training, he said, is a good poverty-reducing strategy because trainees become self-reliant and productive as they are able to help their families.

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