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Microsoft PH, DepEd, employers group hold skilling program for high school graduates

Technology company Microsoft (Philippines) joined forces with the Department of Education and Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) to help senior high school students (SHS) acquire skills that would increase their chances of getting employment.

Quoting a 2020 research from the Philippines Institute of Development Studies, Microsoft said a majority of SHS graduates in the Philippines pursue further studies upon graduation, but 20% enter the labor force immediately, which translates to “considerable digital skills gaps for many graduates.”

The virtual event “Building an impactful resume and professional brand online” held recently attracted more than 260,000 learners and teachers who participated in a series of learning sessions using some of Microsoft’s learning platforms (Microsoft Learn, LinkedIn Learning, and Microsoft Imagine Academy ) and tools (Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Teams, and Minecraft Education).

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“Microsoft is committed to supporting the digital transformation journey of 23 million students and close to 900,000 teachers of the DepEd through technology and programs that promote digital literacy, STEM education, and skills advancement,” said Joanna Velez Rodriguez, director, Public Sector, Microsoft Philippines.

As part of the skilling initiative, online training programs on communication, collaboration, critical thinking, problem-solving, empathy, presentation skills, interview tips, workplace ethics, and much more will soon be available to learners.

Technical skills

Citing the Philippine Business for Education (PBED) study group, Microsoft said only 20% of the 70 leading companies in the Philippines are inclined to hire SHS graduates “due to perceptions that new graduates are not work-ready.”

“More opportunities will open up for them after completing learning paths in digital productivity, computer science, cloud, artificial intelligence (AI), and data science which are all aligned to in-demand technical and product skills, and the most in-demand jobs, globally,” said Alain Del Pascua, Undersecretary for Administration, DepEd.

Through the new partnership with ECOP and Microsoft, DepEd is introducing new initiatives to complement the K to 12 basic education program to prepare students with the necessary skills for the modern workplace to address the workforce and employer gaps. Students who have earned a certificate of completion jointly issued by DepEd, ECOP, and Microsoft will be given a higher chance of being employed by ECOP member companies.

Microsoft certification

“As employers, we hire and put value on skills and certifications,” said Ferdinand Ferrer, chair of the Job Creation Committee of ECOP. “As an example, a senior high school graduate looking for work with a Microsoft 365 certification or Team’s administrator certification would put that graduate on top of any HR list for hiring. Currently, as businesses transition to digitalization, companies are putting priority on individuals with digital skills, training, or certification. As evidence, practically all jobs require a level of digital competency.”

Microsoft said it will work closely with DepEd for the full extension of the program to Grade 10 and 11 learners and ensure skilling and certification support for over five million DepEd junior and senior high school students every year.