Makati City, Philippines -- Patricia Valerio, 18, began her training in June as a customer service representative at Ibex Global Solutions. She belongs to the recent batch of K to 12 graduates who decided to look for employment opportunities after senior high school. Despite being the youngest in her team, she aims to improve her skills and contribute to the company.
“Senior high school graduates are skilled; there is no reason to disregard senior high school graduates. We are very dedicated, very talented, and we have a lot of things to offer.”
According to Erman Doctor, Human Resource Officer at Ibex, they find potential in the youth to support a growing industry such as theirs.
“We have employees who are senior high school graduates and they're doing well in their job. We also believe that knowledge doesn't stop in the four corners of the classroom, and in giving everyone a chance with the hope for them to pursue and dream for themselves.”
Meanwhile, Angel Francisquete, is part of the first batch of senior high school students that underwent the work immersion program at Quorum Group of companies. She now considers this an edge in applying for and eventually getting in her first job.
“Our K to 12 work immersion made me more confident now that I am actually employed. I can show initiative because I had prior hands-on experience in the workplace. Most importantly, it has made me more comfortable in dealing with my colleagues, even if I am relatively young.”
Angel also emphasized the advantage of having people assisting and training them side by side during the immersion. “During my work immersion at Quorum, I learned to be more responsible and to be able to manage my time better. I also got to improve my communication skills,” she said in an interview.
Angel and Patricia are among the over 800 senior high school students and graduates who found immersion and employment opportunities through the First Future project, an employability initiative implemented by Philippine Business for Education and supported by the Citi Foundation.
Since its launch in 2018, the project has opened over 19,000 entry-level jobs and around 400 immersion positions for senior high school graduates and students.
Patricia encourages fellow senior high school graduates to make the most of these opportunities. “Don’t be afraid to let yourself out there. You’ll get to meet executives, managers who will guide you along the way.”
Human resources manager of Quorum Group of Companies, Mr. Jon Ortiz, calls on more companies to keep up the strong show of support to the K to 12 program. “The K to 12 program is good but it needs the support of the private sector because we need to provide these students with the environment that will really prepare them and maximize their potential,” he said.
Ortiz also reminds senior high school students that the skills they are being equipped with in their on-the-job experiences will play a huge part in shaping their future. “This is our corporate social responsibility but who knows, we might just find in you, future stars of the company.”
In a culminating activity held at the Makati Shangri-La on October 21 to close the first phase of the project, PBEd Chairman Ramon del Rosario thanked over a hundred project partners, including Quorum and Ibex, who have opened their doors to K to 12 graduates, and encouraged other members of the private sector to do the same.
PBEd is a non-profit that advocates for workforce development and encourages partnership among government, industry, and academe to ensure better alignment from education to employment. One of PBEd’s advocacies is the support of the K to 12 program by encouraging more companies to participate in K to 12 training and employment through its project First Future supported by the Citi Foundation.
About Citi Foundation
The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities. The Citi Foundation's "More than Philanthropy" approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation.