Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz
MANILA – With school graduation season fast approaching, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) challenged the unemployed youth on Saturday to develop “life skills” that can help jump start their careers, either in wage employment or entrepreneurship.
DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said “while we see the youth as dynamic, potential innovators, and leaders in the present-day world of work, surprisingly, they still compose almost half, or 49.1 percent, of the country’s unemployed population of 2.4 million.”
“Skills gap, or the mismatch between labor demand and supply, is the culprit for the high youth unemployment in the country,” Baldoz noted, disclosing in the same vein that a considerable part of the unemployed population consists of educated workers —much of them young ones.
Some 44% of the unemployed have reached or graduated from high school, while 35.3% have graduated from college, Baldoz added.
And because it is almost graduation month, she said graduates ought to realize that in the current situation, the “school-to-work transition in the Philippines is long.”
“It takes a long time for young Filipinos who leave their schools or universities to pursue careers in the labor market, simply because of the skills gap,” she said, citing an Asian Development Bank survey in Manila and Cebu that showed college graduates could wait up to two years to land a regular job.
The same study showed the period is even longer for an individual who leaves high school, taking up to three years to obtain a first job, and four years to find a regular wage job.
“The ADB study is seminal. It cited that educational attainment, social status of family, and job search behavior are significant factors influencing the length and quality of the school-to-work transition among young Filipino job seekers,” she said
To speed up the school-to-work transition, young people should take cognizance of what employer’ tend to articulate, that entry-level employees tend to lack life skills— and they should do something about it.
In particular, Baldoz said, the unemployed youth need to improve their attitudes towards work and also in the work place. They also have to enhance their presentation and communication skills, she said.
Noting that very few youth undertake skills training during the transition from school to work, she urged those who are not in employment, education, or training to train on life skills.
“That’s the only way they can improve their prospects in the labor market,” Baldoz said.
She also encouraged them to join JobStart Philippines.
“Being the first of its kind in Southeast Asia, JobStart seeks to help young people jump start their careers by creating opportunities to improve their technical skills and develop the life skills necessary for success in today’s competitive workplace,” Baldoz explained.
“It introduces a full-cycle employment facilitation service, a comprehensive and systematic approach in assisting young job seekers, from planning their career paths all the way through acquiring the best-fit jobs through career guidance, life skills and technical training, and internship,” she added.
JobStart is funded by the Government of Canada through the Asian Development Bank. The DOLE, through the Bureau of Local Employment, executes the program, while local government units and Public Employment Service Offices (PESOs) serve as implementing agencies, with employers as partners.
Director Dominique Tutay of the Bureau of Local Employment said that, to join JobStart, a participant needs to be between 18-24 years old; at least a high school graduate; no job experience or no more than one year of work experience; and currently not employed, not enrolled in school or in any training, and actively seeking work.
Once selected, an applicant will undergo the following stages: Assessment of participant’s job readiness and enhanced career guidance; selection of full beneficiaries; life skills training; job matching; interview and selection by employers; training plan preparation; signing of internship contract; technical training; and internship with employers.
She said JobStart participants are provided with knowledge on conducting job searches; access to career guidance and employment coaching; access to relevant Labor Market Information (LMI) and PESO infrastructure; referral to potential employers; holistic employability through multi-faceted training; up to six months of on-the-job training with an employer; trainee stipend during the technical training and at least 75 percent of the minimum wage while with the employer as an OJT trainee; and a certificate from DOLE and ADB for completion of the program.
“One of the most exciting features of the JobStart is the life skills training, an eight-day training to develop participants’ attitudes to work and workplace environment; job hunting skills and networking; personal and interpersonal skills; and health and financial management,” Tutay said.
Baldoz said that at the end of a participant’s stint with JobStart, the DOLE envisions more young job seekers being provided with training and exposure in an actual work place, making them ready to assume the job and become more responsive and adaptable to industry skills requirements.
“As an outcome of the program, and with the adoption of the new model for employment facilitation service, we expect the placement rate of job seekers, particularly PESO clients, to be at least 80 percent,” Baldoz said.