BIÑAN, LAGUNA—During the launching of the Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Development Alliance (AMDev) Program supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on 13 March 2023, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Fred Pascual echoed that the Department is in pursuit of encouraging employers to upskill workers, making them future-ready."Crucial to manufacturing development is advancing our workforce pipeline, so we fully support and will continue to support AmDev. Preparing our workforce for the future is essential, as it is one of DTI’s strategic priorities," Secretary Pascual said.
The AMDev Program is a 5-year (2022-2027) public-private partnership supported by USAID and implemented by Unilab Foundation (ULF). It seeks to develop a highly skilled and adaptive workforce pipeline that meets the evolving requirements of the advanced manufacturing sector through better-defined, harmonized skills and qualifications descriptors, competency, and training standards.
The main goal of the program is to improve the capacity of the education system to develop human capital aligned with the requirements of Industry 4.0. To deliver this goal, the program will seek to achieve three Intermediate Results (IRs) such as: (1) Improved competencies of target manufacturing workforce that are relevant to Industry 4.0 needs; (2) Improved enabling environment for advanced manufacturing workforce development; and (3) Improved stakeholder readiness for Industry 4.0.
Further, one of the key activities of AMDev is the establishment of the Advanced Manufacturing Institute (AMI) that will be operationalized by Alliance Core Partners, namely Amherst Laboratories, Inc, Belmont Softgel Pharma Corporation, Fastech Advanced Assembly, and Western Digital. Meanwhile, among its government partners are the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Department of Finance (DOF), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
Initiatives such as AMDev are vital to the DTI's work of tapping and leveraging the immense potential of the Philippines as a manufacturing hub. Through AMDev, the Filipino workforce will have the opportunity to learn new skills and knowledge that will further strengthen the competencies of the country's manufacturing sector.
Secretary Pascual added that "We encourage employers to upskill workers. But we also recognize aligning systems of learning as equally important. With around 790,000 Filipino graduates annually, companies should find it promising to readily recruit smart, young, and productive workforce for their manufacturing operations."
The various initiatives that coincide with AMDev are aligned with the national government's work of responding to the learning needs and realities of the country's workforce, especially in manufacturing.
The DTI endeavors to implement an industrialization strategy driven by science, technology, and innovation. As this comes in, it is vital for the country to also adopt industry 4.0 technologies that will make industries more competitive. However, to successfully implement this, our workforce must be highly skilled. Relative to this, the DTI will soon launch an industry 4.0 pilot factory, which will house cutting-edge manufacturing technologies like advanced robotics, the intelligence of things, and virtual and augmented reality simulations, among others.
Likewise, to ensure organizations and regional governments realize the value of adopting and investing in digital literacy, DTI, together with the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), launched the Philippine Skills Framework (PSF) Initiative. The initiative seeks to create a framework to upskill, reskill, and prepare our human capital and workforce to respond and adapt to the changing needs of the industry. The DTI is working on PSF for electronics, which AMDev and other similar initiatives can gain from for their workforce.
In closing, Secretary Pascual expressed the Department's willingness to continue supporting AMDev as its Alliance Core Partners implement projects and programs that are aligned with it.