MANILA, Philippines – Ayala Foundation Inc., the social development arm of Ayala Corp., has launched a program to address unemployment and job mismatch in Filipino youth.
The program, called Careers for Street Youth, provides training, mentorship, and internships to out-of-school and unemployed youth in selected communities.
From the first batch of 30 participants, 17 are already working in business process outsourcing (BPO) companies supporting the program.
Ayala Foundation's Joseph Anthony Quesada said 10 are now employed at Microsourcing Inc; four at Citi Business Process Solutions; and three in other companies.
One of the participants of the program, Charity Fernandez, said the training program gave her the chance to put her life back on track.
After being unemployed for three years, Fernandez said she applied for the youth program without any background on the BPO industry.
She underwent around 600 hours of training and is now a compensation and benefits associate at the human resource department of Microsourcing Inc.
“Mayroon naman talaga kaming potential kaya lang hindi talaga ‘yun lalabas kung walang magpu-push,” she said during the program launch at the Ayala Museum in Makati on Thursday.
Luli Heras-de Leon, president of Ayala Foundation Inc.
The program provides 100 hours of training, 20 hours of counseling, 24 hours of mentoring, and 480 hours of actual on-the-job training.
Luli Heras-de Leon, president of Ayala Foundation Inc., said that because of the long process, one of the challenges of the program is to make sure that the participants are committed in completing the 600 hours.
“The work is not just for one week and it takes perseverance and stamina to be able to persevere through the entire program, and to actually become an intern in a company and use the learnings and stay committed for the duration of the program,” she told ABS-CBNnews.com.
Ayala Foundation, together with the joint efforts of LiveIt Investments, Santa Maria della Strada Parish Cooperative and Street Kids International, are in the process of selecting a new batch of participants and more employment partners for the second phase of the program.
Heras-de Leon noted that apart from BPO firms, the program is also looking into tapping firms in other industries to provide training and employment opportunities to the participants.
“I’m thinking, I come from the power and energy industry, I’d love to have our oil and gas companies to hire our youth and give them opportunities,” Heras-de Leon said.
“The skills that we are teaching are basic skill sets…Regardless of the industry, they will need those life skills from receptionists, messengers, data encorders, and admin assistants. It cuts across all industries,” she added.
Currently, employment partners for the program include Integreon Managed Solutions Inc., Affinity Express, Microsourcing Inc., and Migo Entertainment Inc.
The program has set a target of at least 300 youth employed by December 2015.
“The ultimate goal is to address the high unemployment rate in our country, of which we all know over half of those have to do with the youth. The second goal is to be able to match all the training that is happening with what employers need today, making sure that there is a match,” said Heras-de Leon.