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Brawn drain: Exodus of workers in construction, hospitality sectors seen after TVET—study

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An exodus of workers in the construction and hospitality sectors is inevitable upon gaining their qualifications through the Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET), the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) found.  

A new PIDS study released last March 11 said that workers would most likely flee to bigger cities or abroad once they received their TVET certifications and obtained enough experience through local employment.

“The flight of skilled workers contributes to labor supply gaps and necessitates training programs that continuously produce qualified workers,” according to Dr. Aniceto C. Orbeta, Jr. and John Paul P. Corpus, the authors of the study.

The researchers also found a low drive for construction-related jobs among those enrolled in TVET. The cause of which were attributed to unfavorable perceptions on these types of occupations among the youth and their parents.

“Construction jobs are viewed as lowly, dirty, and dead-end jobs,” the report emphasized.

Citing administrative data, the study showed that tourism-related programs are the most widely offered with at least 16,620 opened in 2020. An estimated 600,000 Filipinos graduated from TVET the same year.

Among the other top sectors with the widest program offerings include agriculture, forestry, and fishing; metals and engineering; electrical and electronics; human health or healthcare; construction; automotive and land transportation; social, community development, and other services; and information and communication technology.

In 2022, about 2.5 million of the total youth population were classified under the not in employment, education, or training (NEET). The PIDS noted that vocational education can be a tool for engaging and integrating those in the NEET into the labor market.

“To fulfill these roles, TVET must be responsive to the labor market’s requirements for skills and competencies in the workplace and be accessible to young learners from disadvantaged backgrounds,” the study further read.

Categorizing the same as “disengaged youth,” Orbeta and Corpus found that these young people tend to belong to low-income households, who have obtained secondary education but may be economically inactive.

The government oversees the TVET system through the Technical Education And Skills Development Authority (TESDA). It seeks to set policy direction, regulate TVET provision and certification, and implement programs to ensure inclusivity in technical education.

Firms may source their trainees from high schools, local government units, government agencies and other firms—many of which may be students or out-of-school youth from the ages of 15 to 30 years old, coming from poor families.

The majority of the trainees affiliated with the system aim to learn technical-vocational skills (46.9 percent), seek employment after completion of training (38.3 percent), or get a better offer or opportunity from the one they currently have (5.4 percent).

The study estimates that around 300,000 trainees have earned their National Certificates (NC) in 2020.

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