Sunday, November 27, 2011

Free college in Lapu-Lapu to ease job-skills mismatch

A manpower services company has invested in a school that offers free non-degree courses to employees  in manufacturing companies in Cebu to help solve the job-skills mismatch problem.
Nozomi Fortune Services Inc. set up IKON College after seeing the problem in several of its client companies,  said Alexander Arnado, Nozomi Fortune Services Inc.’s founder and chairman.
“Initially we are offering a free course in industrial engineering with  approval from CHED (Commission of Higher Education) which will be operated under Dual Training System (DTS), which is a preferred training program for enterprise-based training in the country,” Arnado said.
The course was the one most required by their clients.
“There is a need for more skilled manpower with a degree in industrial engineering. Most of the workers now are only high school graduates.  With  this offering they can get trained for more skills specific to their company’s  operation requirements adopting DTS,” he said.
Arnado said that most of the 17 million workers in industrial and manufacturing companies in the country were high school graduates.
In IKON College workers could learn the theories while  their workplaces would be their laboratories, said Arnado.
Workers who  want to avail of the free education can visit their facility for the schedule of classes.
Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) Director Lilia de Lima welcomed the initiative of the Nozomi Group.
De Lima said this would help companies  source more  skilled labor, make workers more efficient in their tasks, and benefit  companies and resulting in more investments.
She  said that skilled workers such engineers were key factors to sustain the country’s investment growth.
“We are already known to have the best people in terms of discipline and diligence. We should then train more for skills which will make us even more attractive to investors,” she said.
She said that with more companies  investing in economic zones and the need for more skilled manpower, the  the IKON College approach was  a good way to address the job-mismatch problem.
“We have brought the idea to PEZA (Philippine Economic Zone Authority) and we are working on standardizing this so that it can be replicated in other economic zones in the country,” Arnado said.
Arnado said  the IKON College in barangay Pusok, Lapu-Lapu City has  700 students.
The school’s management plans to expand nationwide with a target of 10,000 students by July 2012.
“We hope to build more schools. Soon we’ll have one in Manila. The target is 18 schools in four different locations by July next year,” he said.
Nozomi’s  expansion plans for the school include Manila, Subic, Clark, Cavite, Laguna and Batangas,
The firm has offices and client companies in these areas.
Arnado said Nozomi was was also studying what courses to offer for the  tourism and agriculture sectors.

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