Online initiative seeks to ‘upskill’ 4,000 senior HS grads

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The Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) and Citi Foundation’s “First Future Project” was unveiled on Tuesday, Feb. 2, a new learning platform that aims to reach as many as 4,000 Filipino youth and to train them in the cultivation of leadership skills and the adoption of a growth mindset. 

The project is a continuation of earlier efforts to support senior high school graduates and youth without college degrees to enter and progress in the workplace. Back in 2019, PBEd engaged private sector partners to open over 800 work immersion slots and 20,000 employment slots for young Filipinos, in the hopes of opening up the workplace for senior high school students and graduates.

First Future 2.0 continues to support young people without college degrees, but now focuses on mainstreaming skilling, reskilling and courses that will allow them to quickly enter and/or progress in the workplace.

“We are excited because we all believe that putting a premium on individuals who are flexible and can work well with others is vital to developing the workforce of our country,” said Love Basillote, executive director of PBEd.

The learning courses developed for First Future 2.0 are focused on building the capacities and competencies of the youth, making them even more employable and qualified for different industries.

PBEd has engaged an initial total of 25 stakeholders, 19 of which are private companies from the contact center industry, for First Future 2.0. These partners helped develop the training programs, establish the network in various industries, and mainstream the courses online given the shift to online learning due to the pandemic.

During the launch, some of PBEd’s partners were present during the panel discussions. Speakers such as undersecretary Tonisito Umali from the Department of Education (DepEd); chancellor Melinda Bandalaria of the University of the Philippines – Open University (UPOU), and associate director Hazel Aguinsada of Concentrix Philippines joined the panel discussions to discuss the various issues and challenges in the workforce development sector, and the skills-education gap.

The speakers shared their respective institutions’ approach in responding to the various challenges, lessons learned and way forward as the country moves into digitization for skills training and workforce development.

The website has two main courses on skilling, reskilling, and upskilling: the Future-Ready CSR – Growth Mindset Training Customer Service Representatives (CSR) and Beyond Expertise – Cultivating Leadership Skills in Subject Matter Experts (SME).

Each course has four training modules. Some of these are the Self-Discovery Journey, Leading Self in Challenging Situations, and Communicating Effectively as a Leader, which may be found on the First Future website.

The Growth Mindset training teaches skills that are deemed valuable by the industry, such as self-discovery, developing one’s own potential and abilities in preparation for further success in the industry. The Cultivating Leadership Skills course is designed to help existing subject matter experts transition to leaders by providing real-life opportunities, challenges and practices to help people develop basic leadership, management, and communication skills.

After completion of the course, participants will be given a Certificate of Completion which may be part of their credentials once they apply for jobs.

“We all envision a Philippines where every Filipino has the means to constantly improve themselves, to consistently invest in lifelong learning, and have the competences they need to lead successful and meaningful lives,” Basillote said.

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