#ResilienceandRecoveryPh: Episode 6

Upskilling and Reskilling of Workers to Overcome COVID-19 Pandemic

Upskilling and reskilling are important in any job applicant’s toolkit or existing employees as businesses adapt to the new normal brought about by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

Rosanna Urdaneta, Deputy Director General for Policies and Planning of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), said the “OPLAN TESDA Abot Lahat” program aims to contribute to the country’s food, health and job security; and  provide skills training and certification to Filipinos in order to get jobs or earn livelihoods.


 “We will be venturing into agriculture, health, ICT (information communications technology) and construction,” she said in a webinar.


“In order for us to adapt also a new normal state, TESDA will be focusing on these sectors.”


Urdaneta said even before the Covid-19 pandemic, TESDA training centers had been mandated to establish mini-organic farms in a bid to bolster the agriculture sector.


“Construction, as we are very well aware, is still a priority and in support of the “Build, Build, Build” program as a post-ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) or GCQ (general community quarantine) sector,” she said.


“The ICT is very critical in this particular stage because of what we are doing right now --all the virtual meetings or the online programs and courses that are being offered. So we have to really look into this. And of course the artificial intelligence, this particular thing is not very popular yet to the Filipinos,” she added.


Apart from the program, Urdaneta said TESDA has been offering 68 online courses across various categories or sectors, including entrepreneurship, electrical and electronics, and tourism.


Antonio Sayo, Policy Advisor at  GIZ-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) K to 12 Plus Project,  said that once businesses start hiring amid the Covid-19 pandemic, employers will seek the basic so-called “soft skills”, such as the ability to communicate, among job applicants.


Sayo thus advised them to start honing their communication skills, saying “they can do research, they can do self studies, they can join webinars. If you have a particular strength in any technical skill, improve on it and do benchmarking. There are many websites, for example who in Asean that identifies skills that are needed across Asean.”


Sayo further said upskilling and reskilling have always been a priority of the medium and large-scale companies to boost their productivity.


“The ones that are having difficulties in upskilling are the small and medium scale companies. Their recruitment effort, for example even from amongst TVET (technical and vocational educational training) graduates, is very difficult. They have to come up with their own training mechanisms because when they get them, they lack the basic skills in handling basic tools for example,” he said.


To address the problem of skilling, Sayo cited as an example the microfinancing industry now lending money to apprentices and even new graduates of senior high school provided they have subcontracts on carpentry or masonry, to buy basic machines.


This Episode 6 held last May 6 29 titled, "Upskilling and Reskilling of Workers to Overcome COVID-19 Pandemic" is part of the #ResilienceandRecoveryPH: An eForum Series.  The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (PHILEXPORT), Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP), and the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF) organizes the e-Forum.