AS THE demand for highly skilled workers specializing in information and communications technology (ICT) surges, the local talent pool, however, remains scarce, said industry players.
The Vocational Technical Training and Assessment Institute (VocTech), an affiliate of local IT company iTech-RAR Solutions Inc., intends to address this through skills education, as it is scheduled to open a school in Mambaling in Cebu City this June.
“We see that there is a need for workers, but when the industry demands, there are not enough people available. With VocTech, we will have a pool of talents to serve the needs of the industry,” said Pedro V. Sandalo Jr., the school director for operations and finance.
VocTech has received an endorsement from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) and is ready to welcome approximately a hundred students who will enter Grade 11 and 12 this school year, according to Sandalo.
Courses that will be offered include computer systems servicing, computer programming, animation, game programming, consumer electronics servicing, solar panel installation, visual graphic design, electronic product assembly and servicing, fiber optic cable installation, and foreign language.
Last Saturday, VocTech signed a memorandum of agreement with D-Flex Strategic Solutions Inc. The latter will supply network cabling technology requirements for the school’s simulated laboratories. D-Flex is the exclusive distributor of Vivanco structured cabling systems in the Philippines.
D-Flex Managing Director Juner Yaneza acknowledged the lack of ICT-skilled labor in the country despite the industry’s need for such talents.
Since there is a gap in the talent supply, Yaneza said IT companies would resort instead to hiring individuals who have some knowledge in IT, and train these employees afterwards to do the highly-specialized work.
He maintained that ICT-related skills are called for across all industries and command a competitive pay.
“With the Asean integration, we have to upgrade our curriculum. This is one step to become competitive in terms of labor, especially in the field of ICT,”
VocTech is already in talks with various high schools in Cebu to encourage students to enroll and take the ICT track. Sandalo said they can already accept reservations and can also accommodate those who are interested in upgrading their skills.
ICT, according to the Asian Development Bank, is the foundation for a knowledge economy. It said investments in ICT for technical and vocational education and training (TVET) will help meet the demand for a skilled, “ICT-capable” labor force, a hallmark of a country transitioning to a knowledge economy.