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Returning OFWs to receive skills training

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President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA ) to provide skills training for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) so they could find more opportunities here and abroad.

"I instructed TESDA to come up with special training to retool the OFWs, so they could find more opportunities here and abroad," Duterte said in his fifth State-of-the-Nation-Address (SONA) on Monday at the House of Representatives in Quezon City.

As early as February, TESDA Secretary Isidro Lapeña said the agency is ready to provide skills training, particularly through its 71 free online skills training, given the anticipated influx of OFWs because of the pandemic.

Saying that TESDA is "very ready" to accommodate the OFWs, Lapeña said TESDA can accommodate 26,000 OFWs, which is double the total number of OFWs TESDA has assisted in 2019.

Data sent to the Philippine News Agency indicated that the 71 short courses cover various industries such as automotive servicing, electronics, healthcare, agriculture, information and communications technology, maritime, social community development, tourism, lifelong learning, bread and pastry production, food and beverage, housekeeping, front office services, among others.

Some of the skills training that OFWs could take are diesel engine tune-up, massage therapy, basic computer operation, job interview training course, preparing cakes, and introduction to food processing, among others.

Lapeña earlier said these skills training really aim to reskill the OFWs, so they could use the learnings whether they go back abroad, get employed locally, or put up a business.

He added that TESDA has sufficient budget to accommodate 26,000 OFWs.

As of posting, TESDA could not yet provide the number of OFWs who are already enrolled in these online programs.

Aside from free online training, TESDA has been encouraging professionals and OFWs to avail of the free online portfolio assessment, which could enable them to get National Certificates (NC).

A portfolio assessment is one of the ways wherein the Recognition of Prior Learning is being considered. TESDA has been offering this to OFWs, and to professionals with at least five years of work experience.

Applicants who would pass to get an NC could use this certificate to look for jobs.

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