Private sector to hire and train 600,000 K to 12 graduates

MANILA, Philippines – A private sector coalition said on Friday, April 20 that they would be hiring and training some 600,000 K-12 program graduates.

In a press briefing on Friday, Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) said that they affirm their support of the K to 12 program by opening employment opportunities to the graduates. (READ: K to 12: Can it address the labor mismatch?)

"We in the private sector therefore reaffirm our strong support for the K to 12 reform by taking affirmative action and opening employment positions for K to 12 graduates and rethinking our hiring guidelines to put a premium on competencies instead of credentials," PBEd chair Ramon del Rosario Jr said.

PBed also called on more companies to take part and join their hiring coalition. (INFOGRAPHIC: 10 things about K to 12)

"With half a million K to 12 graduates poised to enter the workforce, the issue of employment necessitates all of us together to deliver the promise of employability and shared prosperity for all," Del Rosario said.

The biggest batch of students under the K to 12 program will graduate in 2018 – 5 years since the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013 was signed with former President Benigno Aquino III – with the promise that they are already employable.

According to Jobstreet.com, about 800,000 students are expected to graduate from the program this year.

Employability

A key challenge faced by K to 12 graduates is the readiness of some employers to hire them, should they decide to look for a job instead of pursuing higher education.

George Barcelon, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry president, said that looking at the law of supply and demand, there is an "array of people" with credentials that hiring managers can choose from.  

Jocelyn Pick of People Management Association of the Philippines said that this mindset of choosing credentials over competencies is something that hiring managers should change as K to 12 graduates join the workforce.

"It's a mindset that we have to change. We have to educate our hiring managers as the additional 2 years of Senior High School has helped them build their compentencies," Pick said. (READ: Are companies still hesitant to hire K to 12 graduates?)

A survey conducted within PBEd's network revealed that only one out 5 companies is ready to hire a K to 12 graduate. Meanwhile, 3 out of 5 are open to the idea.

"Given that 93% of K to 12 skills are suitable – even necessary – for entry-level work, we think we can help both graduates and companies through this program," PBEd executive director Lovelaine Basillote said.

A recent survey by Jobstreet.com also revealed that only 24% of employers in the country are willing to hire K to 12 graduates. These companies are mostly from manufacturing, professional services, retail, machinery and equipment, and business process outsourcing (BPO) industries.

An estimated 1.4 million students enrolled in senior high school's Grade 12 for school year 2017 to 2018.– Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.

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