Bernardo M. Villegas
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Technical Training by Business Enterprises

          A young and growing population cannot be transformed into useful manpower if there is a mismatch between the products of our educational institutions and the demand for manpower by industry.  This anomaly is especially acute in the construction industry that is under tremendous pressure from the Build Build Build program of the Government and the real estate boom in residential and commercial buildings.  It seems incredible that there is an acute shortage of carpenters, plumbers, electricians, painters, masons and other workers for the construction industry.  Part of the reason is socio-psychological:  parents and the youth still have a strong bias against blue collar work.  There is a fixation on a college degree even if after getting a college diploma, many young people remain unemployed because they do not have the skills demanded by industry.

         I am glad that a good number of business enterprises are taking the bull by the horns and are putting up technical training programs or academies to produce the skilled people they need in their industry.  On such example of an enterprise-initiated technical training program is the Fast Logistics Learning and Development Center recently established by the Fast Logistics Group of the Chiongbians in Cabuyao, Laguna.  I am especially elated to know of such a learning center because I have been proclaiming in business briefings for some time now that one of the sunrise industries in the Philippines in the coming decades is the supply chain or  logistics sector.  As the Philippine economy continues to grow on the basis of increased consumption by households and individuals, there will be many more companies like Fast Logistics that will have to serve the needs of Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies.

         The logistics sector is one of the first to be disrupted by automation and AI (Artificial Intelligence).  Many aspects of supply chain will be heavily mechanized and robotized.  Warehouses and bodegas will increasingly look like manufacturing facilities with varied fork lifts, conveyor belts and other heavy equipment.  That is why I was highly impressed to see that the Learning and Development Center of Fast Logistics in Cabuyao, Laguna is offering Material Handling Operations and Supply Management courses catering to the needs of not only the sponsoring company but those of the entire industry.  One of the highlights of the learning and development center is its 388 sqm. floor area suited for Material Handling Equipment simulation training complete with equipment such as forklift, transporter, racking system and battery charging area.  The facility also has a dedicated IT Training room and a model room with scale model warehouses, safety and quality equipment.

         The learning and development center is undergoing TESDA Certification to further develop the competencies of its employees and strengthen industry-academe partnership to support the K-12 program of the Government. The curriculum includes not only technical subjects but also subjects that guarantee the whole-person development of the skilled workers.  There is emphasis on effective communication skills, managing high performing skills, career planning and occupational health and safety procedures.  Among the common competencies that will be addressed are the preparation of material handling equipment materials and tools; the observation of procedures, specifications and manuals instruction; the interpretation of technical drawings and plans; performance of measurations and calculations and the maintenance of tools and equipment.  The core competencies that will be cultivated specifically for Fast Logistics are the performance of pre- and post-operation procedures for lifting equipment; basic preventive maintenance servicing for lifting equipment and the productive operation for forklift.  To produce computer-literate workers, the training program will include sessions on performance management system, document management system, PISM, fundamentals of Aquila, PALO-Up System, Pallet Inventory System Online and Excel and Ladderized Workshop.  The training program will include accident investigation reporting workshop; basic safety health and environment orientation; defensive driving course and emergency preparedness and response training. Certification programs that TESDA will conduct include Heavy Equipment Operation—Forklift; Inventory Management Program; Warehouse Management Program (inbound/outbound operations) and the Transport Management Program.

         I have described in great detail this initiative of a business enterprise to take into its own hands the very critical task of converting our so-called demographic dividend into really productive human resources that meet the needs of the entire economy, whether in agriculture, industry or services.  My purpose for doing so was to encourage many other companies to establish their own in-house training programs to turn out skilled workers or professionals that the Philippines will be needing as it transitions from a low-middle-income economy to a high-middle income one in the next ten years or so.  Business cannot assume that Philippine schools and universities will be able to immediately meet the challenge of matching their products with the needs especially of industry (which includes manufacturing, mining, construction and public utilities). A sector that has set the pace for the training of its own skilled workers is the maritime industry in which schools for seafarers and marine officers have proliferated over the last three decades, especially in provinces like Iloilo and Zambales.  More recent training schools have been put up in partnership with Japanese, Norwegian and other countries that employ Filipino seafarers.  These programs should be emulated by enterprises in the other sunrise industries in the coming years, such as tourism, health care, and agribusiness.  For comments, my email address is