Manila, Philippines – The Department of Education (DepEd) together with Microsoft and CloudSwyft have launched Oplan TAWID (technology-assisted work immersion delivery), a focused skilling program with five key industry partners in a collective effort to provide critical skills development and increase the employability of graduating Senior High School (SHS) Students across the Philippines.
“One of DepEd’s learning delivery objectives is to liberate students from poverty. To attain this objective, we integrate technical-vocational courses with work immersion as a curriculum track for Senior High School Students to bolster their credentials if they decide to work after graduating,” said DepEd Undersecretary Diosdado M. San Antonio. “We launched Oplan TAWID to ensure Grade 12 students’ work immersion and training are sustained despite the interruptions caused by the pandemic through leveraging technology.”
The program focuses on three main areas:
- Enhancing digital literacy through training and certification on Microsoft Office or Microsoft Azure Cloud fundamentals, each integrating extensive practical experience and assessment via virtual labs technology
- Strengthening ‘soft skills’ such as communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking
- Increasing employability by linking students to employers for relevant industry immersions
DepEd’s Oplan TAWID follows the successful nationwide implementation of the “Building an Impactful Resume and Online Professional Brand” program mounted in May last year — a joint initiative of DepEd, Microsoft and the Employers Confederation of the Philippines — where DepEd learners were upskilled on online skilling platforms and over 1 million LinkedIn profiles were created.
“The world we live in today is fundamentally different from the world we were in two years ago and it will certainly continue to change. The adoption of technology has been accelerated greatly across nations, industries and communities, but this acceleration also requires the empowerment of digital skills,” said Microsoft Philippines Human Resources Director, Grace dela Cruz. “Closing those skills gaps is a critical, shared responsibility of leaders from both public and private sectors to ensure inclusive access and future success, whether it be for the workers of today, or the workforce of tomorrow. Our country boasts incredible potential and talent within our greater population, especially in our youth. With the right tools and solutions, each and every Filipino student today can be catalysts of positive impact for our nation in the future.”
Skilling SHS students for the new digital economy
A 2020 study by PWC states that jobs requiring technology skills will increase by 77% for the next ten years. There will be an increasing demand for STEM jobs, particularly in cloud-based technologies, cloud computing, data science, and information security. But employers are struggling to find employees with the right technical skills to meet their organizational objectives, particularly those with hands-on experience – a historical challenge in the Philippines due to the lack of access to requisite hardware and software solutions.
Oplan TAWID aims to bridge the skillset of SHS students in DepEd’s nationwide system with industry requirements for internship and entry-level roles in companies. The program will provide training courses on in-demand 21st-century skills, soft skills, digital literacy, and much more with industry partners CloudSwyft and Audentes Technologies.
“Hands-on, practical learning is critical to preparing students to thrive in post education employment. CloudSwyft is proud to support this landmark program by providing its virtual labs platform – allowing students to simulate real-world exercises using advanced, expensive software tools through a virtual environment accessible on any device, anytime, anywhere. While we provide this platform to the world’s leading education institutions across the globe, we remain particularly dedicated to supporting the youth in the country where we were originally founded”, said CEO of CloudSwyft, Dann Angelo De Guzman.
“Taking the Cloud Fundamentals and Microsoft Certification Programs will make upcoming graduates in Senior High stand out in a crowded job market, and it also makes a better case for big raise or promotion. As we speak, many employers in countries and regions around globe report a shortage of skilled & qualified workers. Although employers have many job openings, they struggle to find the best fit applicants to fill those roles. So having the OPLAN TAWID Program from Microsoft and DepEd will surely help to address that skills gap”, said General Manager of Audentes Technologies, Francis Hernandez
Participants can also take certification exams towards becoming a Microsoft Office Specialist or taking the Cloud Fundamentals Training Path via Virtual labs powered by CloudSwyft. As most companies require talents to be skilled in communication, students will go through intensive reading and communication classes through Microsoft’s Reading Progress application.
All training courses will be conducted virtually through Microsoft Teams, and certifications will be issued to students who completed the skilling courses, which they can leverage in applying for jobs.
Work immersion for SHS students to build competence and gain job experience
Aside from skills, companies today are seeking to hire talents that have industry-relevant work experience. To address this, the DepEd is partnering with organizations in the country from the Information Technology and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) and finance industries to give students the opportunity to immerse themselves in working for an established company and gain strategic professional experience. These organizations are Accenture, Alorica Philippines Incorporated, Concentrix Philippines, and the Union Bank of the Philippines Incorporated.
“With an innovative mindset and learning culture, Accenture in the Philippines remains steadfast in its commitment to upskilling and developing talent through our continuing collaboration with academia, industries, and other organizations,” said Stephan Alba, Intelligent Platform Services and Accenture Microsoft Business Group lead, Accenture Technology in the Philippines. “We are pleased to collaborate with DepEd and Microsoft Philippines on the Oplan TAWID program to help local students develop their skills and become more job-ready and prepared to help drive the digital transformation of business.”
“We continue to face very challenging times not to mention, a fast-changing workplace where keeping abreast of the latest industry trends and developments is not only critical but likewise expected,” said Marvin Vinluan, Director-Talent Acquisition Sourcing and Recruitment Marketing of Alorica. “Alorica’s participation in Oplan TAWID allows us to directly enable future BPO industry workers — senior high school students — to be employment ready by equipping them with real world exposure and experience, alongside all the skills and knowledge necessary for them to succeed.”
“The jobs of yesterday have transformed enormously because of technology. A few years ago, we were looking for software developers and computer engineers,” said Abeegail Caberte, AVP-Head of Talent Acquisition of UnionBank. “Today we need cloud engineers and devsecops developers. This has made finding the right talent significantly more challenging for jobs overall. Organizations from all industries—not just finance—need to adapt, from the way we recruit to the way we equip individuals who become part of our teams. Participating in programs like Oplan TAWID are critical to the upskilling of future workers and we’re proud to join this effort to enable more opportunities for the workers of tomorrow.
The internship of selected SHS students will likewise be conducted via Microsoft Teams, and companies will be using the Azure Virtual Desktop to simulate the actual work environment. After the students’ internships, companies will provide feedback on their performance to help DepEd address curriculum gaps and improve instruction to align with industry requirements.
A pilot test of the Oplan TAWID program will be conducted in the National Capital Region with an initial target of 120 SHS students between November 2021 to March 2022. The program will later expand to different regions of the country. Moving forward, the DepEd and Microsoft will continue to introduce programs to make the education system more agile and resilient as the country moves forward from COVID-19.
The program was officially launched via a virtual event on Dec 2, 2021, with Usec. Diosdado M. San Antonio- Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction at DepEd, Joyce Andaya- Director, Bureau of Curriculum Development at DepEd, Francis Xavier Hernandez-Co-Founder & General Manager at Audentes, Prince Billy Datu-Vice-President of Sales and Business Development at CloudSwyft, and Grace dela Cruz-Human Resource Director at Microsoft joining as speakers. A special Fireside Chat was also held with Abeegail Caberte, AVP-Head of Talent Acquisition at UnionBank of the Philippines, Stephan Alba-Managing director at Accenture, Frankie Antolin-Executive director at the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines, John Paul Anonuevo- Deputy Manager for Talent Acquisition at Concentrix and Marvin Vinluan, Director-Talent Acquisition Sourcing and Recruitment Marketing at Alorica.
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