By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
The Department of Education (DepEd) and the private sector urged Senior High School (SHS) graduates to apply for jobs with at least 20,000 job positions made available for them.
Advocacy group Philippine Business for Education (PBED) recently presented the results of the latest survey on K to 12 employability and the project results from “First Future” – an affirmative hiring initiative implemented by PBEd with support from Citi Foundation – which aims to “encourage companies to open their doors to K to 12 students and graduates through work immersion and employment opportunities.”
PBED Executive Love Basilotte explained that the recent survey on K to 12 employability stemmed from its own job outlook survey across 22 industries in 2018 which found that “3 of 5 companies are open to hiring K to 12 graduates while 1 of 5 companies are ready to hire given available facilities and current hiring policies.”
In December 2018, Basilotte shared the PBED partnered with the Citi Foundation for the “First Future” which is primarily a private sector-led initiative that aims to urge industries to open their doors to training K to 12 graduates and students – “thus providing the youth better access to economic opportunities.”
After 18 months, PBED announced that over 19,000 entry-level jobs and 400 work immersion positions for senior high school graduates and students have been opened and available for the K to 12 graduates.
Basilotte noted that the program exceeded its initial target of getting at least 90 companies for the project. “We got an overwhelming support from our private partners and we now have over 300 partner companies,” she explained.
Through the project, Basilotte said a total of 116 companies offered 19,385 job openings and 773 training positions for SHS students and graduates. Currently, PBED data shows at least 2,900 positions had already been filled; 544 graduates have been employed; 211 have been trained; while 105 are scheduled for training.
Given this, Basilotte urged interested SHS graduates and students to “actually apply for these positions that are specially-created just for you.” She noted that since there will be no college graduates this year as part of the transition into the K to 12 program, SHS graduates have an advantage because many companies are looking for employees.
In a culminating event at the Makati Shangri-La, PBED also honored its partners from the private sector that signified their strong and continued support for the K to 12 program of the DepEd.
“We are pleased to announce that over the past year, we are now seeing more openness in what once was a hesitant environment, as more companies are choosing to hire based on competencies rather than credentials,” PBEd Chairman Ramon del Rosario Jr. said.
Meanwhile, Citi Philippines CEO Aftab Ahmed expressed hope that through the “First Future” initiative, more Filipino youth will have access to employment opportunities. “Our role is to ensure that we provide an environment that thrives on equality,” he said. The company, he added, will continue to provide opportunities where the youth “can seize their dreams in a meaningful way.”
The “First Future” project was funded by the Citi Foundation under their Pathways to Progress initiative which is a global response to persistent unemployment among the youth.
Meanwhile, DepEd Undersecretary Tonisito Umali thanked PBED and the Citi Foundation for its continued support to the K to 12 program. “We have been saying that the K to 12 is not just about decongesting the curriculum or adding two years in the basic education curriculum – it’s more than that,” he said.
To make graduates more employable, Umali noted there is also a need to a change of mindset and rethink their hiring policies. “In the work industry, for instance, it is very crucial to change the mindset that only college graduates are qualified to jobs,” he said. “We have to convince our industry more that they should be more willing to hire K to 12 graduates,” he added.