The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) has partnered with the government, private company, and business association to implement the pre-employment education and training (PET) system promoting and increasing employment particularly in the information and communications technology (ICT), agriculture, and tourism sectors.
PCCI Human Resources Development Foundation (HRDF) Inc. president Dr. Alberto Fenix Jr. said quality education and training is imperative to prepare Filipinos for the world of work.
“The world of work is changing driven by technological advancements and globalization. It is now more important than ever to invest in human capital and ensure that everyone has the qualifications necessary to succeed,” he said.
Fenix cited an earlier United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) report indicating that up to two billion jobs are at risk of being replaced by automation by 2030.
He thus underscored the importance of establishing the PET program in selected qualifications in priority sectors including ICT, agriculture, and tourism and hospitality.
In the ICT sector, Fenix said the PCCI, through its implementing arm HRDF Inc., signed a cooperation agreement with Huawei Technologies Philippines Inc. to implement ICT education and training programs in colleges and universities.
He said Huawei will make available the programs for free from its ICT Academy and its mobile systems applications development.
“We are very excited with this priority sector since the world of work is changing fast into a digital world. We believe that our Filpino manpower has the affinity and capability for ICT,” he added.
In the agriculture sector, Fenix said they have signed an agreement with the Department of Agriculture and its Agricultural Training Institute to select, define agriculture development qualifications, develop and write PET program manuals, and get business associations, chambers and enterprises (ACEs) to implement PET programs.
“Twenty four percent of the Philippine labor sector force is in the agriculture sector which has low productivity and where most of the people are underemployed and hence, the majority of the poor are in this sector,” he said.
In tourism and hospitality, Fenix further said the PCCI HRDF has already a PET program manual for the hotel and restaurant services qualification in Laiya in San Juan, Batangas.
“There were five other chambers that started the replication of this education and training but unfortunately, the Covid pandemic has suspended these efforts. But we are still sure of this priority sector and that after the situation normalizes, this sector will serve our attention and priority,” he said.
Fenix said they are also currently working with the Department of Tourism in developing a PET program manual for qualification upgrading of the supervisory and management employees of the sector, particularly those in the small and medium enterprises.
“There are other priority sectors we have identified but even with our limited time and resources, we will also develop PET programs in other priority sectors, such as health, logistics, manufacturing, construction, etc.,” he added.
Moreover, Fenix cited the importance of quality education and training for all in the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on enabling a smart workforce in a sustainable community, as well as the government Ambisyon 2040, the goal to lift all Filipinos from poverty by the year 2040.
“We can imagine three things about the kind of workforce we have in 2040. They are technologically adept, they are leaders in artificial intelligence (AI) –virtual reality robotics, cloud computing. And the activities already the PCCI is doing in HRDF and at the Innovation Center are all consistent with this dream to make our workforce technologically adept (and) consistent with the Fourth Industrial Revolution requirement,” he said.