Labor officer is DSWD's 'outstanding partner' in Catanduanes livelihood program
ALBAY, Philippines – Initiative and collaboration are two strong forces of change. A labor officer in Catanduanes knew that, as he harnessed both to transform the lives of unemployed persons in the Bicol region.
For that, he was awarded "Outstanding Partner" in the implementation of Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Russel Ulysses Nieves, officer-in-charge of the Department of Labor and Employment's Catanduanes Provincial Field Office, received the award during the Sulong Bayanihan 2019: Solidarity and Innovations in Bridging Opportunities for Livelihoods (SIBOL) held in Quezon City in June.
According to Nieves, the key to the nation’s development and success is convergence. “The DSWD cannot lower the poverty incidence alone. TESDA cannot supply the high demand for skilled workers alone. DOLE cannot address the unemployment alone,” he said.
This was the reason he brought together various government agencies – from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), provincial government of Catanduanes, Public Employment Services Offices (PESOs), and the DSWD – to conduct life skills training sessions for the unemployed and underemployed, particularly those that belong to the marginalized sector.
How it began
He came up with the idea for his initiative after an unfortunate event during a job fair in Catanduanes. A participating construction company was hiring 2,000 heavy equipment operators, but DOLE and TESDA were not able to provide a single qualified applicant with National Certificate (NC) II on heavy equipment operation.
This challenged Nieves to solve the problem through convergence. Through the collaboration, DSWD offered to do the training provided that the participants were 4Ps beneficiaries.
However, he said TESDA lacked the funds and equipment to help at the beginning of the program.
Through his perseverance, Nievess made each agency committed in doing its part to overcome the dire situation.
DOLE acted as the training team leader and job matching facilitator, as well as provided training on Occupational Safety Health.
DSWD profiled the beneficiaries (with the help of PESOs) and provided P20,000 training budget per participant.
TESDA conducted the training and assessment, while the provincial government and Construction Industry Association provided the training equipment.
Land Transportation Authority (LTA) also assisted by providing driver’s licenses as pre-requisite to the training.
Impact of convergence
A total of 147 training beneficiaries from the initial two batches completed the training and are now employed in the construction industry.
One of them is Noel Reyes of San Andres town. He now works in the driving training center in the province for an NC II and will soon become a licensed trainer for heavy equipment excavators.
Reyes said he was grateful for the opportunity given to them. “I wouldn’t be what I am now without their help,” he said.
He thanked Nieves for the initiative, as well as Elpidio Tuburo of TESDA and the DSWD.
According to DOLE Bicol, the major impacts of the convergence were: skills development, job generation (with some now working abroad as licensed heavy equipment operators), poverty alleviation, complement of the Build Build Build program, and providing licenses and social protection to beneficiaries. – Rappler.com
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