PH needs sustained skills training to be competitive in the midst of pandemic

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By Victoria “NIKE” De Dios

As the unemployment rate in the country rapidly increases from 5.3% in January 2020 to 17.7% in April 2020 and now 22.2 based on the forecast of country Director of the ADB Philippines Country Office, Kelly Bird.

As the world celebrates the UN World Youth Skills Day today, July 15, the German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GPCCI)  has raised awareness for the importance of skills training among young Filipinos with a social media campaign, highlighting its partnerships with companies and training institutions to support youth skills development in the country.

In the media advisory of German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Stefan Schmitz, President of GPCCI said, “GPCCI has a long history of promoting the Dual Education and Training (DET) approach modeled after the Germany system which is unique in two ways: one, that the industry helps define the skills to be taught and second, the emphasis on practical skills training in the company.”

Interestingly, since 2013, the German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GPCCI) supports DET in the Philippines to develop skilled workers and safeguard companies’ productivity and competitiveness.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, this calls for a special urgency on this year’s World Youth Skills Day. With many businesses and educational institutions closed or operating on the skeletal workforce, skills needs are changing and companies need to be agile to stay operational and competitive.

Dr. Martin Henkelmann, Executive Director of GPCCI said, “We encourage the business community to keep a long-term perspective when it comes to skills development.”

“With a strong focus on practical learning in the company, the DET approach is very flexible to quickly adjust to the current situation”, Dr. Henkelmann pointed out.

For her part, Daniela Wassmann, Managing Director of Rhenus Logistics Inc., Philippines and Chairwoman of GPCCI’s Vocational Training Committee (VTC) noted, “Admittedly, it is challenging for the trainees to undergo the training and for the company to set up a meaningful system but when successfully implemented, it pays off – the graduate can be proud and holds a certification while the company increases its competitiveness.”

The VTC is a platform for GPCCI members and relevant local institutions to share and discuss vocational training topics.

The GPCCI is the official representation of the German industry in the Philippines and promotes Philippine-German trade relations. GPCCI is one of the 140 German Chambers Abroad in 92 countries worldwide.