TECH giant IBM Philippines is now in talks with state-run colleges and universities in Cebu and local government units to promote and adopt a new learning program in schools meant to help more students land jobs in this digital-driven economy.
New collar jobs are roles in some of the technology industry’s fastest growing fields, from cybersecurity and cloud computing to cognitive business and digital design, which require more than a high school diploma but not necessarily a university degree.
According to Agnes Africa, country manager for marketing, communications and citizenship of IBM Philippines, the new collar jobs will address the skills gap between the white collar and blue collar jobs.
She said this new breed of workers will help companies across all sectors ramp up their digital transformation initiatives.
“We are currently in talks with the public schools in Cebu and we hope to also get the support of our local government units,” said Africa.
In the Philippines, IBM partnered with Taguig City to bring the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-Tech) through Taguig City University.
On Aug. 12, 2019 the Philippines became the sixth country in the world to roll-out the P-Tech education model that aligns education with workforce development challenges.
Africa said P-Tech is a fitting program in today’s digital economy, especially since companies in the country need to have workers with relevant and high-quality tech skills.
“Technology is always evolving so we need to catch up fast in terms of the skills and quality of the graduates we produce. If we wait for the students to graduate in four years, maybe by that time we would be facing a new technology, which would then require new skills,” she said.
Created by IBM in 2011, P-Tech creates a direct path between high school, college and career by uniting the expertise of the public and private sectors to strengthen education and reinvigorate local economies.
As of now, 18 countries have announced the intent to open or have already opened P-Tech schools, such as the United States, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea.
IBM said 200 P-Techs are expected to be in operation by the end of 2019, with more than 75 community colleges and 600 industry partner affiliates like in technology, healthcare and advanced manufacturing.
In the Philippines, P-Tech is offered to Grades 11 to 12, with students graduating with an Associate’s Degree in Computer Technology.
Beginning in senior high school, students will benefit from mentorships, worksite visits and project days—all of which will provide early exposure to careers in industries and disciplines that involve a background in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem).
As students progress in high school and college coursework, they will participate in paid internships that provide real workplace experiences. These opportunities will equip students with the necessary technology and workplace skills, as well as the degrees for competitive and fulfilling “new collar” careers.
The P-Tech model and its growing ecosystem will help tackle new workforce challenges in the Philippines, including the “potential upside for over 600,000 new jobs to be created by 2022, from a baseline of 1.15 million jobs in 2016,” according to the Philippine Information Technology-Business Process Management Accelerate PH Future Ready Roadmap 2022.
Lope Doromal, chief technologist of IBM Philippines, said graduates of this program may be absorbed by IBM Philippines but if not, they already have an edge when looking for jobs in other companies.
He said they may either become user design and user experience expertise, tech specialists for software or automation specialists.
“At IBM, we’re very aware of the urgent need for skilled Stem talent. P-Tech is a direct response by IBM to the global skills crisis and is very much in line with the needs and strategy of the Philippines as a nation,” said Harriet Green, chief executive officer and chairman of IBM Asia Pacific, in a statement.
“Together with the growing P-Tech ecosystem, we will help students better understand the connection between their coursework, field experiences, and the “real world” expectations of the workplace,” he added. KOC