TESDA scholars get better lives, brighter future with acquired skills
In education lies hope, and several underprivileged youths have been fortunate to get the education they rightfully deserve and are now equipped with the skills and knowledge that give them a chance to improve their lives.
These youths are graduates of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Automotive Training Center in Tacloban, Leyte. TESDA, which carries the mandate of manpower skills development through Technical Vocational Education and Training for the Philippines' youth, provides the expertise and experience in imparting knowledge to the students of the training center.
Isuzu Motors Ltd. (IML) of Japan, for its part, provides the funding for the project, playing a supporting role as part of the company's "Heart and Smile" corporate social responsibility campaign. Besides the financial support, IML also supplies technical requirements that are essential to the course such as training material, program modules, practical training and other skills enhancement tools.
For IML Chairman Yoshinori Ida, providing the youth with access to an education is key to improving their lives. "It is important that we give young people the opportunities that will give them hope and the skills that they can translate into a better future," said Ida. "Providing them with automotive training is one way of achieving this."
Among the graduates' touching stories of better lives and brighter futures is that of Angelito Layco's, who has taken the top award in his batch. Layco, used to be a farmer prior to enlisting in the automotive training center. He hails from an island in Mindoro, and is scheduled to take his on-the-job training at Isuzu Makati.
Like Layco, most of the training center's scholars come from families whose sources of income are fishing or farming—but who do not own the land they till or where their houses, usually nipa huts, stand. More often than not, their families are big, too, where siblings number from eight to as much as 14. Their parents have not been fortunate to receive formal education, and those that have managed to get vocational training fail to land employment.
Layco also had to leave his loved ones behind in faraway Mindoro so that he can join the automotive training center, a move that he says had initially casted doubts in his mind.
"I can still remember the day when I arrived here in the automotive training center," Layco shares. "I was nervous and I asked myself; 'Have I made the right decision?' 'Can I fight the loneliness brought by being away from home and withstand all the challenges that will come?'"
"I used it as an inspiration in order to cope with the training and survive all the trials I have encountered," Layco says. "After two years of training, all the fears and worries I have felt before are now gone. Today, I have a clear vision for my future and have plans in life, bearing the confidence and preparedness that I will be able to put into practical application everything that I have learned in my training."
The training center first opened its doors in 2008 with the aim of providing underprivileged but deserving scholars (who must be high-school graduates) subsidized automotive training that would qualify graduates to TESDA's NC4 certification—the highest automotive servicing qualification in the Philippines. At present, 84 Isuzu-TESDA scholars have already graduated from the center.
Layco's achievement has instilled pride not only in him and his family, but also to his fellow scholars, his trainers and the rest of the staff at the training center. His perseverance and dedication in pursuing a new skill have led him to new opportunities.
"I hope that the training center's graduates turn out to be as fine as their seniors and become new stars that brighten the workplace with hope and aspirations," Ida said.
At the Isuzu-TESDA Automotive Training Center, the future looks bright.