THE Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) has expanded its training program for the ICT-BPM sector by allotting P2.2 billion for 2016, an increase of P200 million from this year’s budget.

Maria Susan dela Rama, Tesda Executive Director for certification, said the budget will be used to expand Tesda’s coverage under its Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP), in partnership with the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP).

With a higher budget, dela Rama hopes the program will allow them to train 49,810 individuals, higher than the 45,281 expected beneficiaries this year.

“We remain committed to help the industry in finding individuals with the necessary skills to man the industry by providing trainings, as well as help address the skills requirement of this fast growing sector,” said dela Rama during the second-day of the Cebu ICT-BPM Conference held at the Cebu City Marriott Hotel.

Tesda’s total budget for training programs across all sectors from 2006 to 2015 stood at P15.97 billion, of which 19.1 percent or P3.05 billion has been alloted for Tesda-IBPAP’s TWSP.

Of the total budget, dela Rama reported having 307,724 graduates under TWSP out of the 315,520 individuals who enrolled.

Dela Rama assured the industry that Tesda will remain a staunch supporter of the IT-BPM sector, as the industry continues to exploit opportunities in the global market. She also hoped that the next administration will continue the programs they have laid out to sustain the growth of the sector.

“The industry is really growing fast. In fact, we are having a hard time keeping up with growth,” said Benedict Hernandez, president of the Contact Center Association of the Philippines.

IBPAP president and chief executive officer Jomari Mercado pointed out that the industry and the academe should work faster prepare the talent pool, as other segments in the industry are gaining momentum.

Mercado said that beyond contact centers, back office/knowledge process outsourcing, healthcare and information technology outsourcing are also growing fast.

“Although India is still cheaper than us, companies come here, not because of cost concerns, but because of the quality of the workforce that we can provide,” he said.

Industry stakeholders expect to generate 1.23 million jobs and $21.8 billion in revenues this year. Last year, the sector posted $18.9 billion in revenues and reached over one million employees.