The Aussie Experience by Kotie Ramiro-Bax

Posted on Saturday, January 12th, 2013 and is filed under Mindanao TVET, Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Wasn’t it long ago, was just the other day…Or was it just a daydream that I’ll never run again? Memories with you….

Last October 13, I, along with ten other co-fellows, who are all owners of private technical vocational institutions and some with higher education programs, went to Australia, as official fellows to the ALAF (Australian Leadership Award Fellowship) Activity entitled:  “Building training-to-employment connections for enhanced regional development in Mindanao”. The three-week event was hosted by the MEGT.

As the only one representing the government, I had a goal in mind that whatever I will gain from the Program will help enrich the government service, particularly the Technical Vocational Education and Training system in Mindanao.

The training program immersed me into the detailed system of how the Apprenticeship Program works in the country, particularly in Victoria and Tasmania. All the sessions presented, ranging from orientation on the economy, major industries and key employment generators of the State of Victoria and Tasmania, and how the local government, in coordination with industry councils, responds to the skills requirements of the State, have significant value.

The sessions consisted of topics from the Group Training Organization systems and processes: from building relationships with Host Employers to advocacy and recruitment of prospective apprentices, and various strategies that are personalized and unique to individual case studies, including organizational and individual success stories, discussions structured around key learning topics and challenges, as well as sessions by both government (the Municipality of Sorrell in Tasmania) and Industry, such as TASSAL (the best Salmon producer in Australia) and Murrayfield for the Indigenous Peoples, and technology.    Informative cross-talks with MEGT employees and actual site visits and interviews with the apprentices provided motivation and insights noteworthy for current and future learning.

I believe that the best aspects of the training were the ones that give exciting opportunities and ideas into proactively pursuing developmental concepts and ideas applicable in our country. For instance:

1) Government subsidized program to bridge the gap between training and employment thru apprenticeship programs–This gave me the impetus to craft my re-entry plan on re-directing our scholarship program to enterprise-based technical-vocational education and training which is the Apprenticeship and Learnership Programs or Kasanayan sa Hanapbuhay Program (KASH).

2)  The Mentoring system under the Language Literacy and Numeracy–This poses significant challenges on the part of the technical-vocational institutions in our country to integrate this type of mentoring and nurturing scheme which  is like a dashboard content that can be individualized to a trainee’s learning needs. This  ensures that training will not only produce skilled graduates but totally qualified, competent and job-ready graduates.

3) Skills Potentials may not have been given preferential attention by our government or any private entity, but this Program actually allows an individual to function at his highest capacity in the workplace. I have also come to appreciate the  fact that, with this program, the differently-abled persons can also be given a niche in the workplace.

4) The MEGT as a model for group training organization brings me to another impression from the conference: It’s all about connecting to “the one”–a system that interconnects training, networking and employment.  This is what we want to foster in Mindanao, a different version of the Australian framework, which hopefully will work for the future of our trainees and skilled workers.

Every minute of the training was a learning experience. Every detail absorbed.

In line with our quality journey for global competitiveness, I perceive the Program very beneficial as I looked into processes and identify areas for continuous improvement in my workplace.   In this regard, I appreciate very much AusAid’s magnanimous intention to identify and build areas of cooperation beneficial to both Australia and the Philippines.

The Program has maximized my own exposure because of its multi-faceted objectives, such as: promote goodwill, recognize work excellence among people of varied cultures and experiences, promote global competitiveness in our products, systems, procedures and services, and raise the societal regard of the Filipino skilled workers and Filipino government workers as it was not only a cultural but also an academic gathering.

Being part of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority that manages the TVET programs, I would like to underscore the importance of this Program to my work because many of our projects would require strategic alliances and partnering and cooperation with our stakeholders.  This ranges from policy and planning, industry linkaging, advocacy, program offering registration of the technical-vocational schools, assessment and certification, skills competition, awards and incentives, implementation of the Dual Training System, Apprenticeship and Learnership and with the rest of the technical education and skills development projects. I learned and saw for myself how these programs are being managed and carried out excellently in Victoria, Australia.

I consider my participation not only a stepping stone to professional advancement and creativity but an essential freedom to help reinforce the current systems we have in our country.   In return, my participation will also enhance the long term friendship and partnership of our country with Australia through regular contacts, sharing of expertise and continuous provision of updates in the areas of cooperation.

I know that the training would be what I made of it and what I would bring back home. I am now on the way to a far larger challenge—my re-entry plan.   The training has greatly improved my knowledge/skills as a technical education and training specialist in our country.

I am grateful that God has blessed me with people whom He used  as instruments to support me in this program: Mintvet for accepting and endorsing my application and Sec. Joel Villanueva for authorizing my official travel to Australia. Unbeknowest to them, this has been such a wonderful learning expereince for me. The training has capacitated me to a much higher level, that ignited in me a dedication to strive to connect the theories and strategies I learned and make a genuine effort into making them happen.

The learnings that I gained and acquired from the Program, that is truly memorable and life-changing, will always be a part of my conscious effort to help professionalize the public service as well as magnify excellence in the workplace.

At the Boomerang Cafe all I could see was your brown eyes which would change the world for me…And the Boomerang Cafe changed the world for you, do you remember my darling? The heavens tore apart, or was it just the lightning and thunder in my heart? Do you remember my darling?…

(*My brief stay in Australia is aptly described in this Aussie love song, popularized by John Williamson, which my husband and I first heard in 1990 and eventually became an instant family favorite.)

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