Friday, May 23, 2014
MANILA=Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada is pushing for the immediate passage of a measure that aims to strengthen apprenticeship programs, in a bid to train and employ more young workers in the technical industries.
The Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development led by Sen. Estrada recently tackled Senate Bill 136 or the proposed Apprenticeship Training Act.
The proposal is among the 12 priority legislative measures for the 16th Congress identified by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
Under the explanatory note of the measure Sen. Estrada said, “There is a need to institute further reforms and conduct massive advocacy on the apprenticeship program to make it more attractive to both the enterprises and the prospective apprentices, in a fervent bid to promote skills acquisition and youth employment.”
Sen. Estrada noted that the biggest number of unemployed members of the labor force belongs to the 15-24 age bracket, and followed by the 25-34 age bracket.
He said that the apprenticeship program would also ensure the availability of qualified manpower in critical and in-demand skills.
The bill also extends the apprenticeship period from the current maximum period of six months to a reasonable duration of training depending on the training regulation and complexity of skills to be learned by the apprentice.
Certified apprenticeship graduates shall also be exempted from probationary employment and shall be employed as regular workers if chosen to be retained by the enterprise.
Further, apprenticeship graduates shall be awarded equivalent unit credits in the formal system of education that can be used in pursuing tertiary degree courses subject to the integrated policies and guidelines on equivalency and adult education acceleration program.
The panel also considered putting up incentives, such as tax breaks and non-cash incentives like capability building of trainors, for private businesses that will offer apprenticeship programs.
It was noted during the committee hearing that only 664 companies have registered apprenticeship programs. They are businesses engaged in tourism, health and other social development services, automotive and land transport, construction, electronics and garments.
According to the representative from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), specifically the courses offered are for electronic assembler, welding, masoning, food and beverage services, tailoring, automotive servicing, cooking, housekeeping, refrigeration and air conditioning, and electrician.
“Apprenticeship programs have the unique capability of immersing our younger workers in real life employment atmosphere, enabling them to learn technical skills, practical knowledge and experience needed to make them employable and competitive, while providing them the opportunity to earn a living,” Jinggoy states.
“The enterprise-based apprenticeship program also complements the competency-based education systems already in place enabling the economy to have a steady supply of skilled workers,” he adds.