Bernardo M. Villegas
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Model Sector in Talent Development (Part 2)

             Since the IT-IBM sector is relatively a new one that is not yet as familiar as a possible choice of career or occupation both to parents and their children, the increase of talents for the sector would require an active marketing effort to significantly enhance interest in the various training programs (formal, non-formal and informal) in this field.  The industry leaders have crafted so-called key interventions/initiatives to promote the profession so that it can be as popular among high schools graduates as, for example, Accounting was in the 1950s and 1960s during my generation.  Among the initiatives pinpointed is the organization of job fair/webinars, industry interaction, and social media branding to encourage/attract students to pursue relevant academic degrees or short-term skills development programs.  There should be career advocacy and employment coaching—proactive positioning of the IT-BPM industry as an attractive profession and career option with high growth potential amongst the talent community.  There should also be collaboration with foreign universities and governments for training and exchange programs in this field.  Campus ambassador programs may be organized to spread career awareness.

            The key stakeholders should be identified and requested to collaborate in marketing the profession to the youth and young employees.  IBPAP along with DICT, DepEd, CHED, and TESDA should take up the marketing initiatives and social branding for promoting the sector.  DOLE and PRC can take the lead in conducting periodic job fairs and career coaching programs in various parts of the country.  DICT should focus on emerging provincial locations (such as Puerto Princesa and Dumaguete) with low current awareness of the IT-BPM industry.  CHED should focus on international tie-ups and establish exchange programs with top universities, especially in the Indo-Pacific region.  IBPAP can coordinate social media branding and campus ambassador programs along with DepEd and CHED.

            There should be target outcomes and timelines.  At least one roadshow per quarter should be organized in the next-wave cities.  Annual job fairs are to be organized in the various regions and provinces.  DICT will expand the reach and update (e.g. more leverage of social media) for existing IT-BPM Career and Industry Awareness Fairs and IT-BPM Industry Ambassadors programs.  The final outcome should be total employment in the industry growing by 8 % yearly until 2028.

            The products of the various training programs (senior high, bachelors, techvoc and short non-formal and informal courses) must be better prepared for the actual jobs available in the industry.  There should be a continuous review of the curriculum and course delivery methods at the various levels of education (primary school, junior-high, senior-high and tertiary education) to build a sustainable talent pipeline.  This should be done in line with the Philippines Skills Framework (PSF) initiative for various sectors.  More importantly for the short run, targeted programs should be created towards the skilling, upskilling and retooling of the existing talent pool and reducing time-to-proficiency across technical, soft skills, and sector-specific knowledge.  There should be a nationwide skilling program that can be delivered through multiple channels/modalities for various talent pools (among those still in school, those already employed,  unemployed and underemployed).  There should be efforts to strengthen existing programs such as the National Technical Education and Skills Development Plan (NTESDP) offered by TESDA, which happily is now again part of DOLE, highlighting that TESDA should be employment-focused. There should be developed an online tracker/tracer study that can be implemented on Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and for the existing workforce to establish baseline skill proficiency.

            The key stakeholders should be assigned their respective responsibilities in the talent development program.  To address the long-term supply of talents, the Department of Education and other related agencies should implement the Basic Education Plan (BEDP), in partnership with other agencies, especially to address the serious gaps in reading comprehension, numeracy and scientific reasoning.  Special attention should be given to the proper training of course developers and faculty of academic institutions on how to create courses that are in line with changes in the curricula as defined by the PSFs and respective industry organizations.  Academic planning and assessment should be assured to understand better the learning outcomes of graduates (senior high, bachelors) and to review the career paths the talents pursue after graduation.  There should be continuous refinement of policies, standards and guidelines (PSGs) to address the wants and needs of the industry and to incorporate these into the curricula.  DICT should ensure ease of access to digital medium/e-learning platforms through tie-ups with online training platforms such as Coursera, edX, MS Learn, LinkedIn learning, GitHub, etc.

            There should be a focus on the scalability of already existing programs such as SMP tracks, LSI and Philippines IT training centers.  DICT and DTI along with PRC should ensure proper provisioning of resources for the nationwide skilling program.  TESDA should strengthen the NTESDP program.  The pertinent government agencies, i.e. DICT, DTI, DOLE, DepEd and CHED should collaborate to run a periodic tracker/tracer study to monitor the effectiveness of the training/graduate programs.  More specifically, TESDA should measure the effectiveness of the reach of TVET programs in increasing the employment rate and industry acceptance of certified people.

            To address the more immediate demand for talents (next 3 to 5 years), there should be programs to improve job-readiness of the graduates of senior-high and bachelors programs through employability enhancement efforts.  Existing programs should be improved to include relevant subjects such as the Service Management Program (SMP) Specialization track and Language Skills Institute (LSI).  Various eLearning methods should be offered through online classes and recorded videos and promoted to expand the reach of such programs to those who are already out of school. Special emphasis should be given to the skilling, reskilling and retooling existing employed talent pool and reduce time-to-proficiency across technical, soft skills, and sector-specific knowledge.  These programs should be especially targeted to the numerous employees in the call centers and customer relations field who are the first ones to be replaced by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robots.

            There should be a nationwide skilling program delivered through multiple channels/modalities for various talent pools (far or near graduates, recent graduates or graduated but not yet employed, mid-career employees from other domains).  In addition, existing programs such as National Technical Education and Skills Development Plan (NTESDP) offered by TESDA should be strengthened.  There should be developed an online tracker/tracer study that can be implemented in Higher Education Institutes and for the existing workforce to determine baseline skill proficiency. To be continued.