Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz has expressed her full support to the apprenticeship bill, House Bill No. 1594 or “An Act Reforming the National Apprenticeship Program and Providing Regulatory Standards for Training Apprenticeships, and for Accreditation of the Programs” and to its swift passage into law.
“We are for this reform-oriented, tripartite-endorsed legislative measure. It has long been overdue. If enacted into law, it will strengthen apprenticeship as a human resource development strategy that will ensure the availability of qualified skilled workers for ready absorption by indutstry,” said Baldoz, who also expressed elation that the bill is finally moving its way in the legislature.
The apprenticeship bill is one of five legislative proposal endorsed for the 16th Congress by the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council (TIPC).
Baldoz revealed that the apprenticeship measure has also the full support of both workers and employers.
“To ensure extensive participation of the tripartite sectors, the bill passed extensive deliberation at the Small Tripartite Labor Code Review Committee through a series of tripartite meetings,” recalled Baldoz.
The TIPC has pushed for reforming the National Apprenticeship Program, calling for regulatory standards for the training of apprentices and for the registration of the programs, with the goal of making apprenticeship and learnership more attractive to both the enterprises and the prospective apprentices, promoting skills acquisition and youth employment, as well as clarifying that apprenticeship is a training, and not an employment program.
“The Labor Code is very clear that apprenticeship is training within employment with compulsory theoretical instruction and involving a contract between an apprenticeship and an enterprise on an approved apprentice able occupation,” she said.
The bill, according to Secretary Baldoz, underscores the government’s recognition of the importance of the apprenticeship program in providing the youth with skills and access to employment. It also takes cognizance of the industry associations’ perspective about the apprenticeship program as a mechanism that would ensure a continuous supply of skilled workers.
She said apprenticeship provides a strong channel that connects theory and practice, thus, preparing the apprentices to the rudiments of workplace operations.
Certified apprenticeship graduates shall be exempted from probationary employment. They shall be employed as regular workers if chosen to be retained by the enterprise. Apprenticeship graduates shall likewise be awarded equivalent unit credits in the formal system of education that can be used in pursuing tertiary degree courses subject to the integrated policies and guidelines on equivalency and adult education acceleration program of the TESDA, CHED, and DepEd.
In a related development, the Bureau of Working Conditions and the Technical Education Skills Development Authority held last week a learning session on the Dual Training System (DTS) and the Apprenticeship Program of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
In the Dual Training System (DTS), learning takes place alternately in two venues: the school or training center and the company or workshop.
Under the DTS principle in the school, where 40 percent of the learning takes place, students acquire theoretical knowledge, basic skills, values formation and general education. Alternately, in the company, where 60 percent of the learning takes place, students acquire skills proficiency and are exposed to actual work conditions with emphasis on economic performance and productivity.
The DTS, with its holistic approach, provides a number of benefits to schools, to establishments and to students, thus it is a preferred training modality in the country.
As to the schools and to the establishments, the DTS provides an efficient and effective division of labor between the two; thus, schools and establishments can concentrate on their respective strong points in terms of training the students. Training expenses are also reduced as costs are shared by the end-users.
The students, on the other hand, are not only earning while learning but they are also provided with quality training, proper skills, work attitudes and knowledge. They have higher chances of employability as they can transition easily from the educational system to the employment system due to their extensive practical know-how.
To ensure high quality technical and vocational education and training (TVET), accreditation standards are established and maintained by TESDA. The DTS accreditation is issued to Technical Vocational Institutions (TVIs) and establishments that meet all the requirements provided for under the DTS Law, particularly on the prescribed payment of the training allowance to the student/trainee.
To encourage more partners, tax incentives are awarded to accredited TVIs and establishments that have complied with the provisions of the DTS Law and granted DTS Accreditation.