Free skills bring hope for job hunters, small biz-A A +A
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
EACH year, a number of Cebuanos are given the chance to upgrade their knowledge and skills through the Cebu City Government’s skills and development training programs.
Jason Gelbolingo, 23, took commercial cooking, one of the free training courses offered by the Department of Manpower Development and Placement (DMDP), to enrich his cooking skills in preparation for his plans to go job hunting overseas.
“I enrolled because this is for free and I want to take advantage of the learning I will get here,” said Gelbolingo, an information technology student whose passion, he said, is cooking. He joined the program in Sept. 23 and is expected to complete the training course in three months’ time.
Unlike Gelbolingo, who wants to become “hireable” in the future, 39-year-old Leonarda Cabatino took commercial cooking to polish her skills so she could grow her carenderia business.
“I just wanted to increase my cooking experience. I know how to cook but I don’t know how to bake. Baking is one of the things I wanted to learn from here so I can incorporate it in my own business,” she said.
According to DMDP officer in-charge Susan Ardosa, the agency, through its programs, helps make sure trainees come out as highly-competitive individuals.
She said free training courses are important to the economic growth of a locality because it rebuilds lives.
“The city’s most important resource is the skill of its people. The more we produce competitive individuals, the more investments and jobs will come in,” said Ardosa.
DMDP offers 17 courses with training durations of three to four months.
These are computer hardware servicing, automotive mechanic, consumer electronics servicing, electrical installation and maintenance, refrigeration and air-conditioning, basic plumbing, computer operations, computer programming, visual graphics design, food and beverage services, bartending, commercial cooking, dressmaking, tailoring, advanced fashion design, and beauty care.
Ardosa noted that the agency has been producing a good number of graduates each year.
As of the third quarter this year, the agency logged 2,146 graduates, mostly from the three-month training courses. Some 726 are new enrollees for the fourth quarter.
“Students who enrolled in our training programs have mixed reasons for joining. Some just wanted to earn experience; some wanted to use the training for their job application abroad, while others wanted to open their own businesses,” she said.
Ardosa, however, admitted they still don’t have the tools to track down the labor information of their graduates but they get information based on the graduates’ feedback.
DMDP was formed from the merger between the Public Welfare Division and the Employment and Placement Opportunities Center in 1994. Its vision is to provide better employment opportunities through the skills training programs and services to the Cebu City constituents.
DMDP currently has 30 trainers.
Aside from the training courses, the agency also provides employment opportunities for their graduates through job fairs for local and overseas employment. They also created industry linkages, where they help companies achieve their human resource requirements.
“In fact, we have one student here that was absorbed by General Motors after the extensive training he had with the company,” she said.
Various companies and organizations have also extended support to DMDP. Ardosa said the Fashion Council of Cebu, for instance, trained 10 of their trainers in advanced fashion design. After which, the course was opened to the graduates of basic dressmaking.
DMDP also extend its skills training programs to the remote barangay areas. Ardosa said they came up with customized, short-term courses to cater to the skills training requirements of the barangays. They also give out job referrals.
To sustain the agency’s performance and remain in sync with Cebu’s economic goals, the agency has mapped out development plans for next year such as offering training courses that match industry demand such as in the business process outsourcing (BPO) and construction industries.
DMDP also plans to upgrade their training facilities, procure additional equipment, enhance staff competency through industry immersion, enhance their labor market information database and hold community-based training.
The agency’s operating expenses this year stood at P2.8 million.
“Providing more job opportunities is one way to gauge a progressive city. But before these jobs come out, proper skills should be put in place,” said Ardosa adding that training programs should be expanded to reinforce competencies to provide greater economic opportunities.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 30, 2013.