/ 23 February 2021

THOUSANDS of displaced overseas Filipino workers and their dependents have gained new skills through the “Abot Lahat ang OFWs” program of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.

The agency said that 99,711 former OFWs and their dependents registered in the online program and 31,435 have completed their courses.

TESDA chief Isidro Lapeña launched the program in June last year to help upskill OFWs affected by the Covid19 pandemic.

Through a directive of President Rodrigo Duterte, TESDA established OFW desks in its offices in provinces to address the concerns of former OFWs.

After his virtual consultation with the OFW international community last year, Lapeña added a special feature in the TESDA mobile app where OFWs can register for the agency’s skills training or competency assessment services.

Despite the pandemic, TESDA was also able to train 715,158 Filipinos and certified 462,189 individuals as skilled workers under its regular scholarship programs. Of this number, 5,408 were OFWs.

Lapeña emphasized that “TESDA Abot Lahat ang OFWs” does not end in skills training, but also helps OFWs land jobs or livelihood.

“We, in TESDA, always try to be more responsive to the needs of our kababayans. In the case of our repatriated OFWs, we make our services more accessible and we train them to be equipped enough for new jobs or livelihood so they can continue to provide for their families even after they lost their jobs overseas,” he said.

Lapeña shared that the agency recently recognized the efforts of 36 OFWs from the United Arab Emirates who finished their 40-hour training on Scaffolding Works lnspection Level lll for 13 working days from August 2020 to Dec 2020.

The training, which is currently in demand abroad, was held in full online delivery mode and was facilitated by Engr. Crisuaro R. Fallar ll, a former OFW himself.

The training was also made possible by the TESDA Korea-Philippines Vocational Training Center in Davao City where Fallar is based, in coordination with the Office of the Regional Director of TESDA XI.

TESDA continues to consult various OFW organizations to further improve the agency’s programs for them.

“It is our aim to provide enhancement and capability training for all OFWs, whether you are here in the country, or in your respective work assignments overseas. This training is intended to make you more productive and efficient in your work,” Lapeña said.