Repurposing Skills in the Time of Pandemic

Posted under crest on July 02, 2020
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The health pandemic has affected the lives of millions of workers worldwide, its impact far reaching and devastating to a multitude of industries. Once lucrative enterprises in tourism, hospitality, or events are reeling from the losses and lost income opportunities, and it may take them a few years to fully recover.

If there are lessons learned during the pandemic, it is that any business – whether it is a large-scale manufacturer, a back office with 50 workers, or a micro-enterprise with a home-based operation – must be ready to face any crisis, without the need to sacrifice workers’ welfare.

Bayan Academy, a social enterprise empowering Filipino workers with skills and knowledge, saw the pandemic as an opportunity to expand its reach via online communication. With programs validated by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and supported by global financial services giant J.P. Morgan, Bayan Academy offered its various courses online, starting with “Contact Center Services”, “Virtual Assistant”, and “Basic Programming”.  Skills that will be developed from these courses were identified as “essential” or with high demand, especially as the economies of the New Normal will rely heavily on AI-enabled digital technology and automation.

“Online training will now become the norm rather than the exception,” says Dr. Eduardo A. Morato, Jr. Chairman and President of Bayan Academy.  “The crisis is not a time to retreat, but to equip ourselves further, retool our way of thinking, and update our skills. This is what we are doing at Bayan Academy as we continuously reach out to retrenched workers; micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), and all those who want to improve their lot in life and survive not only this crisis, but whatever the future may bring.”

The initiatives of Bayan Academy are fully supported by J.P. Morgan.

“We remain committed to the efforts of institutions such as Bayan Academy in providing work access and increased opportunities for the Filipino,” says Carlos Ma. G. Mendoza, Senior Country Officer, J.P. Morgan Philippines. “The Covid-19 pandemic has affected communities all over the world, and the best way to address the crisis is by continuously investing in human capital and equipping individuals with the necessary skills to survive challenges that may come their way.”

During the enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila, Bayan Academy intensified its online courses. In fact, a second batch of online training graduates completed the Basic Programming using Python course. This would allow the graduates, some who are underemployed ones, to find work or business in the digital economy, which is robust during the pandemic when everyone is quarantined at home.

Earlier this year, Bayan Academy, together with TESDA and J.P. Morgan, presented the “2018-2022 NTESDP (National Technical Education and Skills Development Plan) Action Programming,” a landmark study dubbed as a guide for the “new dawn for works skills and jobs training in the Philippines.”

The NTESDP presents a strong, unified, and a sustainable national system for high-level tech-voc skills training program that has a long-term vision of making Filipinos in-demand and skilled for the challenges of the future, especially in the face of the New Normal.  

In a landmark move to create comprehensive changes that will strengthen the standards of Philippine Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) to bring about reforms relevant to the needs of eight priority industries identified in the NTESDP (namely Tourism, IT and Business Process Management, Real Estate and Construction, Agriculture, Manufacturing, Electronics, Health and Wellness, and Transportation, Communication and Logistics),  Bayan Academy and TESDA, supported by J.P. Morgan and various government and industry stakeholders, led a series of technical working group (TWG) meetings and consultations aiming to formulate industry-led curricula and enterprise-based training and identify critical skills expected from technical education scholars and graduates.

The consultations also led in the conceptualization of industry action programs and resource allocation plans in support of the NTESDP. 

TESDA Secretary Isidro Lapeña cited all those who contributed to the formulation of the 2018-2022 NTESDP Action Plan. Lapeña said that while the government is intent on tackling challenges in employment and skills training, he emphasized the need for strengthened collaboration among public-private partners to translate the NTESDP into specific, “demand-driven” TVET programs.

“TESDA and Bayan Academy will jointly implement the conduct of TESDA organizational diagnosis. This will result in the design of a TESDA structure that is more demand-driven and industry-led organization for the effective delivery of the action programs for the eight priority industries,” the TESDA chief said.

Even before the pandemic, Dr. Morato foresaw the need to open inclusive alternative pathways to quality employment, and to expand vocational education opportunities for Filipinos, especially those in the most underserved communities to prepare for future jobs that are crisis-proof.

“It is important to reform the Philippine national vocational education by developing its eight priority NTESDP action and investment programs, and to pilot the integration of cross-cutting IT training modules across all eight industries to strengthen employability in higher value-added positions,” Dr. Morato says.  

One of the priority industries identified in the NTESDP was agriculture, which made a lot of people concerned during the pandemic as it is also about food security, jobs generation, and countryside development.  Bayan Academy is currently developing online courses and programs to tackle issues on agriculture in order for more Filipinos to find crisis-proof opportunities and gainful employment in this industry. 


TESDA Director General Sec. Isidro Lapena awarded a certificate of appreciation early this year to J.P. Morgan for its invaluable support in the 2018-2022 NTESDP Action Programming and Resource Allocation Planning Project. From left: Jun Alvendia, Susan Bautista-Afan (Member of Board of Trustees, Bayan Academy), Patricia Javier-Gutierrez  (Head of Communications, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.), Carlos Mendoza (Senior Country Officer and Head of Banking, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.), Sec. Isidro Lapena (Director General, TESDA), Rosanna Urdaneta (Deputy Director General for Policies and Planning, TESDA).

For more information, contact Philip Felipe at or follow



TESDAJPMorgan Chase FoundationBayan AcademyPandemic
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