The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) and the government of Germany recently sealed an agreement that seeks to intensify technical vocational education and training (TVET) programmes to prepare skilled graduates for employment.

Tesda Director-General Joel Villanueva signed a cooperation agreement with the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) for collaborative research and development of TVET and further promotion of the dual training system. Villanueva also witnessed the signing of a joint declaration of intent between the Philippines and Germany focused on ’furthering technical vocational education and training through consultancy, technical assistance, and exchange of information, experiences, best practices, joint research, study tours and expert meetings’.

Both initiatives are seen to boost TVET so that it could provide students’ skills and make them eligible for work, thereby reducing unemployment and underemployment. ’In Germany, many students take vocational training, and for those not yet ready, an intensive pre-apprenticeship programme backs the youth. Their government has been investing massive amounts of talent and money in TVET, and it is paying off,’ Villanueva said. ’The challenge we face in skills development is the need to increase permeability of TVET. Since the issues in TVET are now global in nature, the more we should consider external support in design of our training programmes,’ he added.

By signing the cooperation agreement, Villanueva said Tesda will next identify concrete actions for capability-building, research and development and dual training. The Tesda chief acknowledged the need to strengthen Philippine TVET research, and stressed that the cooperation agreement with BIBB can open up channels to fund research projects in the country.

According to him, output from research and development can address not only current needs of the labor market, but also future needs such as technologies, markets and development strategies changes. ’With occupational standards and qualifications aligned with Germany, Filipino workers who desire to work in Germany can have a better competitive advantage,’ Villanueva said. ’Quality TVET will result in a quality, skilled workforce, which will serve as a great incentive to German and other foreign direct investors and domestic investments,’ he added.