MANILA, Philippines – Senator Joel Villanueva on Tuesday called on the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to adapt to the needs of the labor market.
During a Senate privilege speech, Villanueva challenged TESDA to listen to the changing needs of the labor market in order for the public to appreciate the value of technical vocational sector and help students navigate their careers.
He also called on TESDA officials to embrace the challenge that lay ahead of the agency, particularly equipping trainees with skills which are in-demand in the job market.
“I challenge our Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) workers, especially our TESDA employees and officials who are present here today: Continue to pour your hearts out to the cause of TVET,” said Villanueva, who chairs the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment, and Human Resources Development.
“I always believe that it all starts from aspiring higher and striving harder. We should take part in the struggle; all of us. Let us applaud the success of our Tech-Voc graduates because they bring us hope.”
In line with his call, the senator outlined an action plan that “tweaks the education and training systems to respond to the demands of the changing labor market which is gearing up for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
Villanueva, a former TESDA Secretary, likewise underscored the importance of linking training with the needs of industries, especially on qualifications “pertaining to the use of innovative or additive technologies.”
He also asked technical-vocational and education stakeholders to study and integrate enterprise-based training to provide students a more realistic understanding of the career path they intend to pursue once they finish their studies.
Villanueva said he is eyeing to file a bill that incorporates the TESDA-administered Enterprise-Based Training programs, and expand the provision of training programs being implemented within companies.
“We must focus training on science and innovation so that our graduates can keep up with workplace changes,” the senator explained. “We can do this by creating more or helping our best TESDA Technology Institutions morph into centers of excellence and by recruiting trainors who understand industry, business, and the workplace.”
The senator also stressed the importance of web-based training in expanding access of people to TVET, saying it pins down the value of independent learning among Filipinos, which plants the seeds of lifelong learning.
“It will develop the skills required in our fast-becoming ‘uber-economy’ as manifested by the call center jobs and telecommuting or work-from-home setups,” Villanueva said.