December 3, 2019 | The Peninsula Manila

Good afternoon to all! 

On behalf of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, I would like to congratulate the organizers of this year’s Manufacturing Summit headed by Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez.  

Earlier today, TESDA, together with the DTI and the Department of Labor and Employment signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Industry 4.0 Skills Roadmap.  

I am excited to start the formulation of this roadmap with the DTI and DOLE, knowing that this will bring our country’s workforce into the 4IR environment.

The theme for the event, “preparing Philippine Manufacturing for the Future of Production,” is very timely, and very relevant to our agency. TESDA, being the lead agency in technical vocational education and training or TVET, aims to provide relevant, accessible, high quality and efficient technical education and skills development in support of the development of high quality Filipino middle-level workforce responsive to and in accordance with Philippine development goals and priorities.

TESDA’s adheres to its two-pronged strategy in delivering technical vocational education – global competitiveness and social equity. 

By observing global competitiveness, TESDA ensures that we produce skilled workforce that can compete according to global demands aside from meeting local industry standards.  This is reflective of our subject matter at hand. Working to prepare our workforce for the 21st century environment and become 4.0 ready.

Our second approach, social equity and poverty reduction, calls for the provision of training programs that empower the members of our society especially those in the lower strata. Once skilled, we are able to give them a better chance to succeed and participate in building this nation.  Our people should know that while TESDA strive to make our workforce globally competitive, we are making sure that our skills training is able to address poverty besetting our country.

On the part of TESDA, we have identified manufacturing as one of our priority industries and key employment generators.

According to data included in our National Technical Education and Skills Development Plan 2018 - 2022, the top priority occupations in the industry include automotive mechanics, painters, service technicians for hybrid vehicles; carpenters and welder; dressmakers, tailors and sewers; weavers; mechatronics engineers and technicians; and, food processors, among many others.

The diversity in skills requirements should not surprise anyone here, as manufacturing is indeed a large industry, composed of many subsectors.

Of course, this also implies the challenge of developing the most appropriate training programs that will ultimately produce workers with the best fitting competencies as those required by employers.

Manufacturing is one industry among the many supplied with quality human resource by technical vocational education and training.  However, just like any industry, its skills needs are dynamic and it must remain so if it is to be globally competitive.

A good example is the country’s electronics subsector, semiconductors.  While it has not been competitive with neighboring Asian countries and has shown erratic growth patterns for the last five years, it still accounts for 50% of Philippine exports.

We have found that should it shift to higher-value products, through greater research, development and of course training investments, it may yet be a priority subsector for employment.

By now, we are well aware of the impact of digital technologies on jobs.  As discussed in session 2 earlier in the summit, most industries in the country are still transitioning from industry 2.0 to 3.0, with some taking steps towards digitalization and more advanced manufacturing.

We are not too far behind, however.  

The oxford insights and the International Development Research Centre ranks the Philippines as 50th among 194 economies in the government AI readiness index 2019.   In the region, we placed third next only to Singapore and Malaysia.

Nonetheless, results of this study that rates how ready we are for industry 4.0 can quickly change as well. This is greatly dependent on the next steps that all of us will take.

4IR technologies are increasingly being applied globally, specifically in more progressive countries.  If the Philippines is to catch up, we need to create the enabling environment that will support companies and industries and their transition to newer technologies.

The 2018 working paper “Mapping the 4ir at-risk workers in the Philippines”, warned that 20.9% of TVET graduates in the country hold jobs that are at high risk of being automated or being made redundant. 

Overall, 16.1% of all workers in the Philippines have jobs belonging to the top 50 most at risk occupations.

In our studies, for the next five years, skills requirements must include the ability to handle, operate and maintain machines that make use of more electronic and digital technology and controls, as Philippine industries advance to adopt more sophisticated technologies and processes. 

Emerging technologies in manufacturing, as identified in our national TESD plan 2018-2022, include the industrial internet of things, robotics, artificial intelligence, big data, cloud, and cybersecurity.

The country’s educational system, through close coordination and cooperation with industry and other stakeholders, must take immediate steps and incorporate these among others in training modules along with other 21st century skills, to better prepare our workers for the inevitable effects of 4IR.

As the primary catalyst of human capital development in the country, TESDA will continue to expand our linkages and partnerships with the public and private sectors so that we may further enrich our TVET system as a whole.

Together with the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Labor and Employment, we look forward to promulgating the industry 4.0 skills roadmap to reinforce the Philippine workforce.

This will help us assess the needs of our industries in terms of worker skills and competencies required for particular job roles.  

Furthermore, it will allow us to develop strategies for the delivery of training programs that will guarantee the reskilling and upskilling of workers. This will also help improve their employability.

I believe the take away we can have from these proceedings is mainly for us to observe, learn, share, cooperate and collaborate.

It is an honor for TESDA to be part of a movement that aims to enhance the country’s competitiveness, to create an innovative manufacturing, agriculture, and services sector.  I commend this movement that promotes a forward-oriented entrepreneurship ecosystem and strengthened domestic supply and value chains.

I hope that this summit has enlightened young participants on their role in this ever-changing and fast-growing area of business.

Once again, thank you and may this summit continue and grow in years to come.

Mabuhay po tayong lahat.

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