Voc-tech schools align courses with market needs

Agapito Lubaton, chair of the Technical Education Skills Development Committee of the region said they are presently aligning their course offerings and training programs with the operations of several local companies to help provide quality personnel for them. 

"Our goal is to establish a quality and ready workforce and eventually match them with our local industries," he said. 

Lubaton said they initially conducted a mapping of the technical and vocational courses in the region being offered by at least 189 accredited institutions to an estimated 20,000 students. 

Last June, he said the committee and at least 130 technical and vocational schools in the region also started to identify the priority courses to focus on based on the personnel requirement of the local industries. 

Lubaton said the committee is presently drawing some policies for the implementation of these priority programs. The committee is composed of the heads of the technical and vocations schools association in the region and regional directors of the departments of Labor, Science and Technology, Education, Higher Education, Trade and Industry and the Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (TESDA). 

"We tried to identify the industries in our region and asked what their primary needs are in terms of manpower, why there is a gap between the graduates that we are producing and their requirements," he said. 

By meeting the needs of local industries, Lubaton said they will eventually address the continuing migration of local workers to other areas or countries. He said it would also give the workers the proper leverage in demanding standard salaries. 

"It's like creating a market for them here. They don't need to go abroad or somewhere else. We need to do this now or else we will lose our workers to other localities or countries who demand the kind of skills that they have," he said. 

Ma. Gloria Tango, Department of Labor and Employment-Region 12 director, acknowledged that the problem on job mismatch has been a major headache for them. 

Tango said most of the region's new college graduates either finished courses that are not in line with available jobs in the market or lack the necessary skills and other qualifications.

To fix this problem, Tango said they have started to coordinate with the academic sector to help enhance the standards of the training to align the competence of their graduates with the skills required by the industries of job market. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)