The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has its own way of empowering women and prioritizing them, and this by providing them with skills training and livelihood programs.
In a statement, TESDA Director General Danilo Cruz said that the agency has continuously been giving skills training to women, including non-traditional trades such as construction, welding, plumbing, and automotive servicing, among others.
“We consider women as priority clients when it comes to the provision of skills training. Through these programs, we reskill and upskill them to widen their employment opportunities here in the country,” DG Cruz said.
According to TESDA’s 2021 Study on the Employment of TVET Graduates, 78.81% or nearly 8 out of 10 female tech-voc graduates were employed which is slightly higher than male graduates with 78.36 percent.
Meanwhile, the TESDA Women’s Center (TWC), the agency’s specialized training center for women, provides programs in industrial courses which have traditionally been dominated by men. Since its inauguration in 1998, the TWC has trained more than 9,500 Filipino women.
“More than providing women with employable and marketable skills that build their capacities for wage and self-employment, our value-added training gives equal attention to the development of their character, so that the positive contributions of women to society are greatly enhanced,” the TESDA chief said.
Cruz explained that the agency’s continuing thrust will contribute to the goals and targets of the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028, including promoting entrepreneurship and economic opportunities for women and reducing the risks faced by other vulnerable groups.
TESDA Deputy Director General and spokesperson Aniceto D. Bertiz III for his part also shared that during the pandemic, more than 1 million OFWs who were displaced and repatriated back to the country urgently needed reskilling and upskilling.
“TESDA provided assistance and training to more than 630,000 OFWs, some of whom were displaced or repatriated, as they are also considered priority clients by the agency. Through this assistance, these OFWs were able to land even better jobs abroad or have decided to start their own businesses locally," said Bertiz.
TESDA is also empowering women as well as OFWs by providing entrepreneurial training through the Sari-Sari Store Training and Access to Resources (STAR) Program and iSTAR Program.
The STAR program has been used continuously since before the pandemic and proved effective in reskilling distressed Filipino migrant workers in Bahay Kalinga shelters such as the one in Kuwait.
“The iSTAR program is for everyone who is willing to start a business and is accessible through the TESDA Online Program,” Bertiz noted, adding that both STAR and iSTAR programs are being implemented in partnership with Coca-Cola Philippines.
The STAR program has so far benefited more than 250,000 women and OFWs. With the implementation of the online iSTAR program, potentially even more beneficiaries will be reached.
The STAR and iSTAR programs are aimed at helping sari-sari stores become more sustainable and profitable and were designed to help women owners become better entrepreneurs and provide them with support or access to financial resources.