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Technical and Vocational Skills Training, and Employment
Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. Programmes
Sanayan sa Kakayahang Industriyal
Sanayan sa Kakayahang Industriyal (SKIL) was a fitting response to the widespread unemployment problem amongst productive youth and the growing demand for middle-level craftsmen here and overseas. SKIL benefits deserving out-of-school youths trained in various technical courses such as welding, structural pipe fitting, and small engine, refrigeration and air conditioning repair.
The primary partners of PSFI in implementing SKIL are Technical and Educational Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and Don Bosco Institute of Technology, along with the participation of various industry partners which include AG&P and Aboitiz Metaphil.
In recognizing new employment opportunities offered by information and communications technologies, PSFI now pilots ICT skills development programs. Dubbed the electronic Sanayan sa Kakayahang Industriyal (eSKIL), PSFI implemented its first program on ICT skills training in March 2006 to help youths improve their chances of getting hired in call centres.
It is often prescribed that job vacancies created by businesses and industrial projects be filled in by residents of communities hosting the business. Joblink is the response of PSFI to growing local demands for employment.
The largest and longest Joblink operation led by PSFI by far, was during the construction phase of the Malampaya On-Shore Gas Plant (MOGP) in Tabangao, Batangas. Thousands of workers, some with highly specialized skills, were needed to put up the plant. Initially, locals did not possess the skills required by the contractors who, in lieu of meeting their deadlines were already planning to move in workers from elsewhere.
Through the Joblink Committee, participated in by contractors, community representatives, SPEX Project Management, and PSFI as convenor, deserving local workers were prioritised and skills upgrading courses were provided to selected beneficiaries. When the MOGP was completed in 2001, 3,500 TALIM residents have benefited from Joblink. Joblink continues to be implemented on project basis in some PSFI sites.
To date, Joblink has reached out to 7,000 individuals, about 4,000 have been given jobs, and many have developed their careers overseas.
Sanayan sa Kakayahang Agrikultura
The Sanayan sa Kakayahang Agrikultura (SAKA) Program was created in 1985, two years after SKIL was launched. It is offered to sons and daughters of farming families with small land holdings. SAKA is an agricultural skills training program designed to improve farm productivity and management of either lowland or upland farming. It is also intended to help alter the stigma placed in farming and the lack of interest of young people to invest their future in the farm.
Since 1985, SAKA has undergone various modifications to fit the changing needs of young farmers through the introduction of new farming techniques and technologies.
In partnership with the Pampanga Agricultural College, Don Severino Agricultural College (now Cavite State University), and Benguet State University, SAKA began as a two-year course that trained scholars on crop and animal production, aquaculture, agro-forestry technology, farm management, farm equipment maintenance, basic accounting, and communication skills.
Scholars were lent money while enrolled in the course to jumpstart income-generating projects out of their own farm produce. Upon completing the two-year course, SAKA scholars earned a Diploma in Agriculture Technology.
Later on, SAKA was redesigned and compressed into a one-year course. This set up allowed scholars to return to their farms and practice their new skills after a year of training. Finishing the course rendered them a Certificate in Agricultural Technology and Management.
Today, SAKA is a one-year course that is not only concerned with tilling the land and improving yields. It also imparts scientific farming technologies and farm entrepreneurship skills to scholars. Upon completion of the course, SAKA graduates earn a Certificate in Farm Entrepreneurship and are given access to microcredit to enable them to implement their back-to-farm plans.
Shell Training Farms
Shell Training Farms were established to help increase agricultural yields and address the plight of marginalised farmers by demonstrating the latest agricultural technologies and most sustainable practices in agriculture. Training on rice farming was carried out in partnership with the International Rice Research Institute and Philrice.
The sugar plantation industry experienced a steady decline in the 1980s. Negros farmers, being at the centre of sugar plantation, were most affected. PSFI saw the need to help displaced sugar plantation workers and small farmers.
Utilizing the six-hectare land donated by Doña Encarnacion dela Rama Vda. De Hernaez, the first Shell Training Farm was established in Murcia, Negros Occidental where farmers attended a two-week seminar to learn the latest technologies and techniques in farm planning, upland or lowland rice farming, corn production, backyard vegetable and herbal plants gardening, aquaculture, poultry, cattle fattening and swine raising, among others.
Before STF-Negros was turned over to a local non-government organization in 1990, it has benefited 900 beneficiaries.
In cooperation with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), PSFI established its second STF in a ten-hectare land donated by Doña Rosario Sagarbarria Vda. de Roco in Bombon, Camarines Sur. The farm extends farming technologies to farmers in the Bicol Region for cultivating rice varieties and crops suitable to soil with a high level of salinity. Moreover, STF-Bombon supported the rebel returnee program of the government by encouraging rebels to go back to farming, and helped facilitate this transition. STF-Bombon generates revenues from selling farm produce such as bio-organic fertilizer, palay seeds, piglets, and eggs production.
In 1996, STF found its way up north when PSFI and Benguet State University (BSU) forged a partnership that aimed to assist farmers in the Cordillera Region improve cutflower technology. Later, STF-Benguet introduced Zero Waste Management Training which taught participants how to recycle and compost farm wastes. STF-Benguet was handed back to BSU in 2006. PSFI programs on Integrated Farming Bio-Systems, Sanayan sa Kakayahang Pangangalakal, and Community Skills and Accreditation Program are also taught in STFs.
Today, only STF-Bombon remains operational, while a new STF will soon be established in Pililla, Rizal.
Integrated Farming Biosystems
STF espouses the Integrated Farming Bio-systems (IFBS). IFBS is designed to promote sustainable benefits of crop production and animal agro-forestry, conversion of farm wastes into bio-organic fertilizers with microbial inoculants, and farm entrepreneurship. IFBS also addresses farm problems on soil erosion, fishpond water and soil pollution, and the high cost of inputs like fertilizers, pesticides, and seeds.
Farmers have the option to avail of the full 10-day IFBS training with a viable farm plan as a tangible output. Modular training on specific technologies may also be availed.
Community Skills Training and Accreditation Program (COSTAPRO)
PSFI and its partners have observed that dropout rates at the secondary education level increased yearly, and that, while farming offers competitive livelihood opportunities, many of the youth are not inclined to become farmers.
In December 2003, PSFI and Consuelo Foundation, Inc. teamed up to offer COSTAPRO to young agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARB) or children of ARBs. The program was implemented through the assistance of the Department of Agrarian Reform, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, and concerned local government units.
COSTAPRO addresses the needs of the targeted youths in three ways - first, by improving their technical and agricultural skills to qualify them for various employment opportunities; second, by teaching them entrepreneurial and marketing skills; and third, by providing them access to non-formal education or alternative learning system that would help them pass the accreditation exams for secondary education. Among the courses taught include integrated agri-mechanical training, income-generating projects, project management and implementation, and community planning.