Addressing skills mismatch through JobStart
DIPLOMATIC POUCH - Neil Reeder (The Philippine Star) - October 14, 2015 - 10:00am

I had the pleasure of recently attending the first graduation ceremony of over 500 young Filipinos involved in JobStart – a program designed to help out-of-school youth prepare themselves for the job market by giving them enhanced career guidance services, life skills training, technical training, and work experience. The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is implementing this initiative, with   funding from the Government of Canada, through a partnership with the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Canada’s contribution to JobStart is a tangible investment in the Philippines’ talented, young human resources. By increasing access to employment opportunities for youth who are currently unemployed, JobStart assists them in becoming productive members of the workforce.

DOLE Sec. Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz highlighted in her speech that JobStart responds to the challenge of addressing skills mismatches.  Studies have shown that the lack of training and experience among Filipino youth job-seekers are some of the reasons why they are having difficulty searching for that first job. It is thus inspiring for me to learn that this initiative is directly answering one of their needs. 

Our support to JobStart responds to Canada’s desire to assist the Philippines in reducing poverty. To achieve sustainable and inclusive growth, everyone must have access to opportunities and resources available in the economy and society. 

Through partnerships with government, private sector, civil society, and other international organizations, Canada supports local efforts to build the foundations for sustainable and inclusive economic growth in the Philippines. Working through these partnerships, our programming focuses on growing businesses – particularly micro-, small- and medium-enterprises – and increasing investments in people to reduce unemployment and income inequality.

With this in mind, it only made good sense for us to work with DOLE – one of our long-standing partners in the country – and support JobStart through an ADB-administered Cad$ 5.5 million technical assistance project focused on employment facilitation.  

Our support has so far resulted in over 1,800 youth having completed career guidance and coaching and benefited from access to labor market information; another 1,413 received life skills training (LST), of which 246 found jobs immediately after LST; and 685 have been placed in internships with employers.

JobStart’s effectiveness rests on the strong partnerships that were developed during the past year and a half of its implementation:  partnerships with the four pilot local government units which partnered with the initiative through their respective Public Employment Service Offices (PESOs) – Quezon City, Taguig City, Gen. Trias in Cavite, and the City of San Fernando in Pampanga. 

Secondly is the partnership with local employers. The engagement of the private sector contributes to the development of a young, skilled, and productive labor force that will ultimately benefit industry. 

So far, employers have been particularly satisfied with the life skills training, the flexibility shared in developing the training plan for JobStart beneficiaries, and the collaboration with the DOLE and the PESOs.  Many of the employers in the JobStart program said they will retain the interns as regular employees even after the pilot period is completed, giving these young people a leg up on a future career.

The work we are doing with JobStart is far from complete, and as we look to continue the roll-out of the program, we need to continue to maintain close coordination between national and local governments and build on the strong public-private partnership that has made the pilot of JobStart such a success. 

Canada is honoured to be able to assist young people in the Philippines get that first job, which in many respects is truly the most important job of their careers.

*   *   *

(Neil Reeder is the Ambassador of Canada)

 

ACIRC AMBASSADOR OF CANADA ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK CITY OF SAN FERNANDO DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT GOVERNMENT OF CANADA JOBSTART NBSP NEIL REEDER PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT SERVICE OFFICES QUEZON CITY
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