THE Bacolod-Negros Occidental Federation for Information and Communications Technology (BNEFIT) is aggressively promoting digital careers in the province especially freelancing, its official said.
BNEFIT executive director Jocelle Batapa-Sigue, also the vice president of the National Confederation of ICT in the Philippines (NCIP), yesterday said industry workforce has expanded.
Batapa-Sigue said freelancers before are seen as not legitimate. But if looking at the future of the workforce, it now includes joint ventures, business process outsourcing (BPO) facilities, contractors, and freelancers.
"We cannot avoid it, robots will also soon become part of the workforce," she said, adding that "with this development, we are encouraging schools to already enhance the skills of the students to work with machines."
Human-machine interactions should be part of the skill building, Batapa-Sigue pointed out.
As an effort to promote digital careers, BNEFIT will be joining freelancers caravan dubbed Digital Careers Expo.
This is the first Philippine freelancers caravan, a concept that Batapa-Sigue has hatched as a mentor of several ICT councils in the country.
For this year, the caravan will be held in the cities of Iligan, Tarlac and Bacolod.
Batapa-Sigue cited Iligan's well-established group comprising at least 1,000 freelancers.
In fact, it is more active than their ICT council, she said.
For Bacolod City, the expo will be held sometime in September this year.
The concept is really to reach out especially to the young people and tell them that four or six years from now, when they graduate from college, it is going to be a different world, Batapa-Sigue added.
"Our closest and most concrete marketing strategy now is really to build this digital career expo," she said, adding that the uniqueness of the expo is the sharing of speakers, those from Iligan will go to Bacolod and Tarlac.
Moreover, the concept of freelancing involves design including those user experience (UX), English as a Second Language (ESL), content writing, virtual assistance, and digital marketing, among other niches.
In terms of ESL, for instance, Batapa-Sigue said a group of businessmen from China said the Philippine ESL market is only servicing a small portion of the real demand for English.
There is also a growing market now for teaching ESL in Japan and Taiwan
"I just came from Singapore last month, and I think Taiwan is also very eager to tap our teachers," she said.
Though Taiwan is a very small country, if the province can get that account it would mean additional employment, Batapa-Sigue added.