Employers Laud Inclusion of Life Skills Training as Pre-Employment Exercise for Youth
Employers have seen the value of life skills training becoming part of the pre-employment preparation of young adults through a job employment facilitation project piloted by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
The JobStart Philippines program, introduced to prospective employer partners at a consultation forum in San Fernando, Pampanga last March 26, drew messages of support from a group of business representatives because of its innovative approach in addressing unemployment.
"What we like about this program is the life skills training, and the inclusion of a training plan to be created by the employer which shapes the career of the youth participant," said Jim Jimenez, president of Pampanga Chamber of Commerce (PAMCHAM). "We may not solve the unemployment problem 100-percent, but at least, in this project, we are addressing the problem with a new and sound strategy".
The project, assisted by the Government of Canada and the Asian Development Bank, was conceived to enhance the employability of young high school and college graduates by assisting them in making informed career decisions, and by giving them a chance to improve their technical skills and develop life skills necessary to succeed in today's competitive workplace. Employers who will partner with DOLE through training internships of up to six months will receive cash grants.
A similar reaction was echoed at a separate business and employment forum held in Taguig City by its Public Employment Service Office (PESO) last Friday, March 28, where JobStart was presented by Director Dominique Tutay, Bureau of Local Employment (BLE).
Carlo Magno Sabater, a representative of the IT-BPM sector in Taguig, said that the life skills of job applicants are what most employers look for in their employees.
"Without life skills, employees just become like robots; they have no sense of innovation, and cannot deal with people around them," Sabater said.
"The importance of life skills is underscored by the fact that 85 percent of employment promotion has been due to the employees' high level of emotional intelligence while only 15 percent are attributed to performance in technical skills," Sabater added.
Life skills are defined by experts as abilities for adaptive and positive behavior that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life including work. They include psycho-social skills that determine valued behavior and include reflective skills such as problem-solving and critical thinking, to personal skills such as self-awareness, and interpersonal communication.
Director Tutay said the new pilot project, which commenced early this year and will be completed in July 2015, is the answer to the growing problem of youth unemployment mostly attributed to skills mismatch. It aims to test strategies for improving employment outcomes among 1,600 young adults within the catchment areas of four PESOs - San Fernando, Pampanga; Quezon City; Taguig City, and Gen. Trias, Cavite.