career tips

Upskilling undergrads to thrive amid a pandemic

Rappler
Upskilling undergrads to thrive amid a pandemic

Woman working at home having a video conference with colleagues

To provide people a means to thrive through this unprecedented change, Accenture is strengthening its Near-Hire Training program

“I was unemployed and a full-time Dad. Soon after, my wife lost her job because of the pandemic.”

These were the words of Dennis Djinky Avila, Jr., a graduate of Accenture’s Near-Hire Training Program. Avila now works as a customer service representative for a local BPO company.

For Avila, Accenture’s Near-Hire Training Program didn’t just serve as a lifeline, opening doors during this time of crisis. It served as a motivator.  

“The Near-Hire Training encouraged me to pursue my career path and made me realize that there is so much more in being a call center agent – that this is an honorable and fulfilling profession,” he said.

The need for Near-Hire Training

According to Louise Sabariaga, Accenture in the Philippines Corporate Citizenship Managing Director, Near-Hire Training can be described as “a unique learning program developed to help non-college job applicants who have the potential to meet the entry-level requirements – specifically in the IT-BPM industry.”

Sabariaga said that developing these talents for the IT-BPM industry is integral as the sector “remains to be one of the sources of economic growth and recovery of the Philippines.” 

Amid a global pandemic, Accenture is finding ways to provide opportunities to affected Filipinos, especially non-college applicants Accenture considers “near-hires.”

“We call them near-hires because they already have the basic competencies and communication skills to qualify for entry-level roles. We want to help them enhance their skills further, so they have better chances of getting in their preferred company,” explained Emerson Enriquez, Accenture in the Philippines Corporate Citizenship Lead. 

According to him, the beauty of the Near-Hire Training Program is that it helps Filipinos get a job by equipping them with skills that employers look for. And, this doesn’t necessarily mean working solely for Accenture. With these skills developed, they can get employed elsewhere.

To Enriquez, this is what separates Accenture’s upskilling initiative as a corporate social responsibility – or “Corporate Citizenship” as they call it – project versus a mere hiring program. 

The origins of the program

The Near-Hire Training Program was born during the early years of the K-12 program. During K-12’s initial implementation, Accenture saw a decrease in fresh graduates because of the government program’s additional years in schooling. This resulted in Accenture developing an alternative talent pool that would soon become the Near-Hire Training Program.

Today, this program is already in its seventh year. Under the current circumstances, the originally 15-day face-to-face class program has moved to a purely virtual setup. With online sessions, the program has also made learning opportunities more accessible for persons with disabilities (PWDs).

With the program’s non-profit organization partner, Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), Accenture Philippines is working with local government units in Pasig, Quezon City, Manila, San Juan, and Marikina to reach more program trainees.

Commitment to upskilling

Before being accepted into the program, applicants, with the help of government agencies such as the Persons with Disability Affairs Office and Public Employment Service Office of different LGU’s around Metro Manila, are profiled by skill and socioeconomic standing. This serves as a baseline when checking candidates’ progress post-program.

After the 15-day training program, trainees continue to receive mentoring and guidance for up to six months. Every month, a representative of the PBSP reviews the trainee’s  progress to see how they are doing in looking for a job. These are done remotely via Facebook groups, calls, emails, and even texts.

“The Near-Hire Training helped me regain my confidence. Having been trained with the right skills, and with post-program guidance, I was led to better job opportunities.” said Dennis Djinky Avila, Jr. describing his experience. 

Other initiatives

The Near-Hire Training Program supports Accenture’s commitment to its Skills to Succeed initiative where the goal is to upskill individuals – in technical competencies or through digital means – to prepare and enable them as effective future workforce of organizations, even amid this period of change. 

Under the Skills to Succeed program is Accenture’s Skills to Succeed (S2S) Academy, a free online learning program that equips unemployed youth with real-world know-how and confidence to find and keep a job.  The program is specifically designed for today’s digital-savvy youth as it uses learning technologies, games, role-based simulations, videos, quizzes, and other interactive activities. 

Accenture also collaborates with Virtualahan, a social enterprise which provides a 45-day training program that helps PWDs across the Philippines become virtual assistants, taking on freelance work such as writing, editing, graphic design, etc. 

And yet another upskilling initiative is its technical-vocational Systems and Network Administration Scholarship in Cebu. The program is an intensive 3-year course that is geared towards creating entry-level software programmers and network administrators.

Under Accenture’s brand purpose – “to deliver on the promise of technology and human ingenuity” – the global professional services firm aims to showcase how true resilience is brought about by embracing change and putting the best minds together in harnessing technology. 

With this guiding principle, Accenture aims to enable more people to help one another, thrive, and create value in these challenging times.

“By equipping the young generation of learners and jobseekers with technical and soft skills, we are helping them be more employable and find better job opportunities that uplift their lives and their dependents. We are also building a larger talent pool of qualified professionals for the IT-BPM and other industries during this pandemic. With these programs, we can create solutions that make a positive, lasting impact on people’s lives in ways that were not previously possible.”   Louise Sabariaga emphasized.

Interested applicants may send a direct message to the Near-Hire Training program Facebook page here. For Virtualahan, you can learn more by visiting their official website and Facebook page. – Rappler.com

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