At least 100 out-of-school and unemployed youth are expected to benefit from free skills training and employment opportunities after the Antipolo City government inked an agreement with YouthWorks PH on Thursday, Feb. 11.
YouthWorks PH is a private sector-driven youth employability partnership between the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Philippine Business for Education (PBEd).
In an online ceremony, Antipolo City Mayor Andrea Bautista-Ynares and PBEd Executive Director Love Basillote signed the memorandum of understanding for the partnership that lays the groundwork for collaboration among the local government, local industries and training institutions in the city, so that technical vocational skills training programs can reach out and cater to more out-of-school and unemployed youth in the future.
Antipolo City is the most populous city in the Calabarzon Region and has been awarded multiple times as the most competitive city in the country by the National Competitiveness Council. In 2019, President Rodrigo Duterte and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry also recognized the city as the most business-friendly in the country.
“Through this partnership, we hope to provide a fresh start to young Filipinos in the city who are in need of opportunities that will help them realize their potential and become productive members of society,” Basillote said.
According USAID Philippines Office of Education Director Dr. Thomas LeBlanc, the Philippines – as do other economies of the world – still grapples with the challenge brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is upon us, actors in the workforce development ecosystem, to collaborate and ensure that Filipinos, especially the youth, are given the support they need to endure and get through this global health and socioeconomic crisis,” Le Blanc said.
With the partnership, YouthWorks PH takes advantage of the city’s strengths as it works towards decreasing the number of unemployed youth in the country, currently pegged at 1.3 million nationwide as of October 2020.
Through the agreement, the Antipolo City government and YouthWorks PH will share resources in the implementation of skills training programs for the city’s youth. Instructors from the Antipolo Institute of Technology (AITech) will be working as mentors providing online mentoring and employability skills training to YouthWorks PH trainees.
The city government will also help in recruiting eligible youth to join the program; arrange venues for community-based training; provide training subsidies to the program’s participants; and facilitate the participation of the private sector in the program.
YouthWorks PH, meanwhile, will be working with the private sector and co-develop training programs for the youth.
For the initial phase of project implementation, qualified trainees will be doing their on-the-job training at construction company D. M. Consunji, Inc., which is both a partner of YouthWorks PH and AITech. More partner companies will be encouraged to host youth trainees for their on-the-job training, and along with the local Public Employment Services Office, help the program’s completers to find employment opportunities.
The youth has access to the entire training program, which provides free mentoring, technical vocational training, on-the-job training facilitation, skills assessment and employability support – free of charge.
On its third year of implementation, YouthWorks PH aims to train and provide employability support to a total of 7,500 youth all over the Philippines – particularly to those who are out of school, work and skills training opportunities.