4,500 youths in GenSan, Sarangani to get skills training from YouthWorks PH

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 4 Dec) – At least 4,500 youths here and nearby Sarangani province will receive skills training opportunities through an innovative workforce development project dubbed YouthWorks PH.

The Philippine Business for Education (PBed) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) formally launched the project here on Tuesday in partnership with the city government and the private sector.

Thomas LeBlanc, director of USAID Philippines Office of Education, said the move is part of their efforts to help more youths in the country get valuable life skills and work readiness training to make them better prepared for the workforce.

“Through this partnership, USAID and PBEd are embarking on a nationwide campaign to advocate increased employment opportunities for youth, especially for those who are not in school or working,” he said in a statement.

LeBlanc said the project mainly works with local partners from government, industry, and academia to help provide training and work opportunities to nearly 40,000 youths in the country.

In this city and Sarangani province, the project aims to cover some 4,500 youths in the next few years.

The project will cater to youths aged 18 to 24 who are out-of-school, training and employment.

Lovelaine Basillote, PBed executive director and YouthWorks PH chief of party, said the selected youths will receive short-term training sessions on employability and work-based training opportunities.

She said they have partnered with two local companies—the KCC Malls and Alsons Aquaculture Corporation—to provide work-based training to at least 500 youths.

Basillote said the beneficiaries will embark on various technical-vocational training courses, with on-the-job learning opportunities.

These include masonry, carpentry, welding, electrical installation, electronic product assembly, plumbing, refrigeration and airconditioning, bread and pastry production, and cookery, she said.

She said the trainees will attend in-school training sessions at the General Santos National School of Arts and Trade and the New Brighton School before they will be assigned to the companies for the work-based training.

Under the program, the selected beneficiaries will undergo “hands-on” technical-vocational trainings for three to six months.

The beneficiaries will receive living allowances equivalent to 75 percent of the minimum wage, which is currently set at P311 per day in the region, for the duration of their training.

“As we launch our project in General Santos City and Sarangani, we in YouthWorks PH hope to model a system that will help the hardworking, high-potential youth to get relevant training and employment,” Basillote said.

Launched by PBED and USAID in June last year, YouthWorks PH is a P1.7-billion project that “aims to make education and training more responsive to the needs of the economy by working with the government, industry, and academe to provide opportunities to youths not in education, employment or training.”

The five-year project has selected the city as among its seven priority areas, along with the Greater Manila area and the cities of Iloilo, Cebu, Zamboanga, Davao, and Cagayan de Oro. (MindaNews)