Woman graduates from PUJ scholarship program

BEING a woman should not be a hindrance to learn special skills traditionally held by men.

That was what Janine Ferrer, 27, told herself when she decided to enrol in a government program offering scholarships to public utility jeepney (PUJ) drivers and their immediate family members.

Spearheaded by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) and the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Tsuper Iskolar aims to help families affected by government’s Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP).

For Janine, no job is too difficult for anyone who perseveres.

And so she availed herself of the free skills training offered by Tesda and DOTr upon learning that the PUVMP may soon leave her father, a jeepney driver for the past 15 years, jobless.

PUVMP calls for the phasing out of jeepneys, buses and other PUVs that are at least 15 years old, replacing them with safer, more environmentally-friendly alternatives by 2020.

“My father has been a PUJ driver since I was in elementary,” Janine said in Cebuano.

A resident of Pakigne, Minglanilla town in Cebu, Janine’s family hails from Balindog, North Cotabato. She is the youngest of eight siblings.

When the PUVMP was launched by the DOTr in 2017, she began to worry about her father’s job and wondered what would happen to them.

It was around this time when a friend, who was also a jeepney driver, told her about the Tesda scholarship program that would earn for its beneficiaries a National Certificate (NC).

Since her father was getting too old for manual labor, Janine thought of learning the new skills herself.

She chose the training course for heavy equipment operators.

Enduring the heat and dust, Janine persisted in the 20-day course and graduated as the only woman in the course.

“My mindset was that after this, my life would make a turn for the better,” Janine told Superbalita in Cebuano.

On Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019 she walked proudly to the stage to get her certificate of completion and a P 7,000 check.

Ninety-nine PUJ drivers were also among those who graduated from the different training courses offered by Tesda and DOTr.

Aside from the NC II training for heavy equipment operation, other courses offered are: hilot or wellness massage, food and beverage services, shielded metal arc welding, housekeeping, caregiving, bread and pastry production, beauty care services, electrical installation and maintenance.

There are 1,000 slots for the Tesda training program for drivers and their immediate family members, Clarissa Geraldo, Tesda Cebu supervising specialist said.

Some of the graduates said the training was a way for them to earn an NC II license to pursue big dreams of going abroad someday when they will no longer have their old jeepneys to drive. JCT


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