• Women workers starting to outdo male counterparts

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    FILIPINO women are starting to make inroads in various trades dominated by men, especially in sectors where skilled workers are most needed, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) Director General Joel Villanueva said on Wednesday.

    This is because more and more women are taking up technical-vocational or tech-voc courses. Last year alone, 53 percent of the 1,765,757 tech-voc graduates are women, Villanueva noted.

    “Reports from Tesda show that women are now actively participating in tech-voc training and are seeking better opportunities for themselves and their families,” he said.

    Five of the Top? 20 finalists in this year’s Tatak Tesda Video Making Contest were women who excelled in their chosen trade.

    Ingrid Ponce, 24, who hails from Cebu province, is drawing raves in a company in Japan as a welder. Aside from putting together metal plates, she has learned a new skill and can now operate a forklift.

    “Welding is not only a skill, it’s an art,” Ponce said.

    She took up Shielded Metal Arc Welding NC II and Gas Metal Arc Welding NC II courses despite objections from her parents.

    Jonnalyn Navarossa of Tacloban City?, meanwhile, took a course more popular among men, and excelled in it.

    After obtaining a National Certificate for Automotive Mechanic, she was hired in a firm run by Japanese managers.

    Navarossa said although her training enabled her to land a good job, she intends to pursue her dream of becoming an engineer someday.

    Cristina Reyes, a former overseas Filipino worker from Pangasinan, finished a course on Massage Therapy and became a National Certificate II holder. She joined a group of massage therapists doing home service. With a growing number of clients, she sought the help of her school, Greenmont Systems International, in putting up her own spa, which she called the Habitat Spa.

    To help future trainees, Reyes also serves as livelihood trainer to out-of-school youth in their community.

    Like Reyes, Mary Gold Albano of Iligan City? is also running her own business. ?
    Her dream of learning creative design and graphic techniques led her to the Iligan Computer Institute Inc. where she ?finish?ed Visual Graphic Design NC III. She now operates her own small shop, which gives her an everyday challenge of turning brilliant ideas into good design, such as logos and artworks.
    “Everyday is a learning experience,” she said.

    Andylyn Barona of South Cotabato graduated valedictorian but could not enter college, so she took the tech-voc route. Soon after, s?he became a National Certificate II holder in PC Operations. With this, employment came quickly as she was hired by a fishing company.

    She now heads the Management Information Systems department of the company. Adding a feather to her cap is a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science, which she obtained while working.

    “If not for my tech-voc training, I would not have found a job and finish a degree,” Barona said.

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