/ 5 March 2023

TO ADDRESS the job-skills mismatch in the country, the Philippine Business for Education and the Australian government recently launched a skills council under the program ‘A Future That Works.’

The outcome of its Sectors Skills Councils was presented at the New World Makati Hotel on Tuesday, February 28. SSCs are groups of industry experts working together to ensure that job-seekers are equipped with what they need to succeed in the labor market.

“Job-skills mismatch in the country is a huge problem stemming from years of disconnect. It is largely contributory to unemployment and underemployment in the Philippines, which prevents us from fully maximizing the potential of our young workforce,” PBEd Executive Director Justine Raagas said.

“Employers are hiring and many vacancies remain unfilled. Yet many people still have the difficulty finding jobs,” he added.

Ragas said that AFW aims to bring down the jobs and skills gap “by organizing industry leaders and experts through SSCs so they can effectively communicate the needs of the industry and serve as the bridge to ensure that Filipinos are armed with the right education and training.”

The AFW supports four sectors: analytics and artificial intelligence, semiconductors and electronics, food processing, and the upcoming SSC in the healthcare sector.

The councils oversee the production of labor market intelligence reports and data-driven research to provide timely and relevant information on jobs in demand by specific industries.

Industry associations that drive these workforce development initiatives are the Analytics Association of the Philippines, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Human Resources Development Foundation, Semiconductor and Electronics in the Philippines Foundation Inc., and Unilab Foundation Inc.

Subsequently, AFW also introduced Sector Skills PH, an online platform that features labor market intelligence reports, career roadmaps, job vacancies, and vocational training courses. The portal can serve as guide for Filipino workers in their career development, upskilling and education as it provides insights on the current trends and issues including labor demand and supply.

“Through A Future that Works, we can assist the Philippines in managing these changes in skill demand and creating industry-led skills councils to sustain economic growth and effective participation in the growing economy of the Philippines,” Australian Embassy’s Counsellor for Development Thanh Le PSM said.

The Department of Trade and Industry lauded the Australian Government and PBEd for launching the AFW program.

“With AFW strategically targeting workforce development by aligning education and training with the needs of the Philippine economy, I am certain that this is going to be a game changer, not only in lessening the gap between the job and skills mismatch in the country, but in achieving our goal of preparing a future-ready workforce,” DTI Undersecretary Rafaelita Aldaba said.

Last year, the AAP council was acknowledged by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority as a national industry board allowing them to work together to create programs and informed training regulations and aid in curriculum alignment.