• JFC sees solution to youth employment

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    The Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) is insisting that the House of Representatives reform the existing National Apprenticeship Program (NAP) to increase the employment rate among young Filipinos.

    In a letter to House Labor Committee chairman, Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles of Davao City, on November 18, the JFC urged the reform of the NAP—in support of House Bills 1594 and 2227 for NAP reform—to help younger Filipinos find jobs in the country instead of abroad.

    “Regrettably, the level of investment—both foreign and domestic—has for too long been insufficient to create enough decent jobs to meet the growing supply of young workers in the country,” JFC said.

    The NAP, administered by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda), allow the apprentices to be trained by a private firm up to six months, as well as receive 75 percent of the present minimum wage.

    The two House bills include a requirement for Apprenticeship Contract under Section 11 that will provide “training allowances prescribed by industry subsectors through tripartite consultations which in no case shall start below 75 percent of the applicable minimum wage.”

    But the JFC pressed that the phrase should be modified with, “Provided, however, that, contributions to the apprentice by national and/or local government shall be considered in computing the 75 percent.”

    At present, about 25,000 apprentices have benefited from the program, and the JFC said that this is “a small number” that indicates the need to provide “means of better long-term jobs for much larger numbers of young Filipinos.”

    The joint chambers said that the apprentices should be allowed to have longer period of training, since this would provide “sufficient time” for them to gain knowledge and skills, as well as the right training to assess their skills.

    “At the end of the apprenticeship period, many of the apprentices may be offered employment directly in the factory or office where they have been trained. Alternatively, if not so employed, they nevertheless benefit from the training and have knowledge and skills that have increased their chances to work in another company or even to begin an entrepreneurial career,” the JFC said.

    “As a national policy, companies should be encouraged to train more apprentices than needed for the workforce,” it added.

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