ARE you ready for 2022? You could be one of those who will lose your job this year. Many will continuously lose their jobs as more complex skills are demanded in the workplace.

To prevent the total disruption of our workforce, we need to see our catalysts' strong step up. Traditional on-the-job training (OJT) will no longer work. As the demand for more complex skills in the workplace rises, the Philippines "occupation-centric" OJT programs will no longer address these demands. As cited by a 2021 study of McKinsey, the new parameters are called distinct elements of talent or DELTAs -- a combination of skills and attitude cutting across important workplace functions -- are required for any country's workforce to thrive in the new era.

Apprenticeship is the systematic long-term training for a recognized occupation taking place within an undertaking or under an independent craftsman should be governed by a written contract of apprenticeship and be subject to established standards. Beyond apprenticeship, we need to see "quality apprenticeships" which is defined as a unique form of technical vocational education and training, combining on-the-job training and off-the-job learning, which enable learners from all levels of society to acquire the knowledge, skills, and competencies.

McKinsey defines foundational skills for citizens, even when some work will necessarily be specialized. In a labor market that is more automated, digital, and dynamic, it says all citizens will benefit from having a set of foundational skills that help them fulfill three criteria, no matter the sector in which they work or their occupation, which add value beyond what can be done by automated systems and intelligent machines, operate in a digital environment, and continually adapt to new ways of working and new occupations.

It is important to have these three foundational sets of skills, or you have that tenacity to adapt these skills plus specialized knowledge or occupation-centric skills to be ready for the very dynamic landscape of new jobs. Otherwise, your occupation centric or specialized skills will mean nothing in this competitive new world -- someone who has the skill to adapt to new ways and easily learn faster -- will replace you.

The McKinsey study started with broad skill categories -- cognitive, digital, interpersonal, and self-leadership -- then identified thirteen separate skill groups belonging to those categories. Cognitive skills include critical thinking, planning and way of working, communication, and mental flexibility. Interpersonal skills include mobilizing systems, developing relationships, and teamwork effectiveness. Self-leadership includes self-awareness and self-management, entrepreneurship, and goals achievement. Digital skills include digital fluency, software use and development, and understanding digital systems.

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) along with all government agencies responsible for developing the human resource of this country should step up. There is an urgent need to clearly identify the challenges, especially in responding to new qualifications and competencies amidst the surge of digitalization triggered by the pandemic. How was the Tesda able to rise above these challenges? Where are we in ensuring that we involve industry in designing training regulations that are truly relevant to developing the skills required by the industries? What changes have we made to important structures such as mapping and revision or development of competency standards, and resources, and supporting and facilitating innovative methods in revision and development of new competencies?

As global directions prescribe, we need to embark on new types of approaches today for creating competencies. We need cross-cutting approach (integration of transversal competencies that are relevant to all learners of technical-vocational education and training (TVET) irrespective of the occupation or trade); sector-specific approach (integration of specific competencies that are relevant to learners of a specific sector such as agriculture, hospitality, manufacturing, and other disciplines); occupation-specific approach (integration of competencies that are relevant to learners in one specific occupation such as care-giver, plumber, travel agent, and others); additional approach (integration of complementary competencies as additional or option modules to provide greater flexibility for job mobility as per the local context); bottoms-up approach (TVET institutions, employers, industrial associations should have a greater say in the determination of competencies); top-down approach (national bodies and regulators, including the ministries should have a greater say, considering the goals of workforce transformation); or a combination of bottoms-up and top-down (a multi-stakeholder approach to integrating new competencies).

Our talent development sector needs to show where we are in developing skills-based certifications which is the main function of the Tesda. Is there already an automated process for verifying certificates of learners for use by employers? Do we have any examples of national quality certifications because of digitalization? Have we given TVET greater autonomy, flexibility, and adaptability in implementing NQCs? Do they have regular capacity building of teachers and trainers? How and where do the TVET educators find support with lifelong learning opportunities and training?

Our human resource is our greatest asset, but without the right direction and strategy, they could also be our biggest liability especially in a cash-trapped public sector due to corruption and the pandemic.