In Bani, Pangasinan, young man lands in job he loves through SPES For Ardel Laroya, he said the best thing that happened to him for being a four-year beneficiary of the DOLE’s Special Program for the Employment of Students, or SPES, is to be engaged and in love with community work. It is not hard to understand why he said it. The SPES–and the things he learned from being a SPES beneficiary–has led him to many opportunities not only for personal advancement, but also for his family. Ardel, 32, has earned a BS Accountancy degree with distinction through the help of the SPES. He is one of the successful beneficiaries engaged by the local government unit of Bani, Pangasinan under its program in community and social projects development. The Municipality of Bani has long been a partner of the Department of Labor and Employment in the implementation of the SPES. Every year, Bani employs at least 100 student-workers to help in barangay projects, such as social services delivery and clean-up and greening, and to perform office work. Ardel recounted how, from 1999 to 2002, the SPES provided him financially for his college education, especially that his parents were not capable of supporting his schooling. “I am thankful for the SPES for numerous reasons. Not only did it help me financially. Most of all, my work exposure has instilled in me the skills and values which prepared me for my work. It taught me commitment, hard work, patience, confidence, prudence and compassion. It gave me much-needed experience,” Ardel shared. “It was way back during my SPES times that I have come to love working with and for the people,” he added. Today, Ardel works for the Department of Social Welfare and Development-Regional Field Office 1 as Project Development Officer/Sustainable Livelihood Program Training Officer. “It’s like I never have to work because my job is like second nature to me,” he quipped. Having a strong sense of responsibility not only over his community, but more so for his family, Ardel says it now payback time. From his salary, he supports the education of his sibling, who is now in his first year in college. The SPES is a school-to-work appreciation program of the Department of Labor and Employment which aims to assist poor, but deserving, students finish their education through employment in short-term jobs, during summer for those in the secondary level and any time of the year for those in tertiary/technical-vocational level. Under the program, the salaries of worker-student-beneficiaries are co-shouldered by the DOLE and the participating employers in a 40-60 scheme. “We at the DOLE are always happy to know of the success of our SPES beneficiaries,” said Baldoz. “The story of Ardel adds to the thousands of other success stories that have already been told, or are waiting to be narrated. Through them, we are reminded of the program’s noble purpose,” she added. Regional Director Ursua said the SPES serves not just as a source of financial support for the education of its beneficiaries, but most importantly, it provides them with the relevant training ground and experience that will be valuable and useful when theu formally join the labor market. “The DOLE, through the SPES, will continue to help more Ardels realize their dreams by enabling them to appreciate the value of work,” Ursua ended. END Arly Sta. Ana-Valdez

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