President Aquino graces first National Career Advocacy Congress

A May 24, 2012 press release from the Department of Labor and Employment

The two-day National Career Advocacy Congress, the first national gathering of the country’s career guidance counselors and government partners, kicked off yesterday at the Diamond Hotel in Manila with no less than President Benigno S. Aquino III gracing the event to deliver a keynote message. The participating government agencies were the following: namely, the Department of Labor and Employment, Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Professional Regulations Commission (PRC), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and the Philippine Information Agency (PIA).

At the Congress, Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz welcomed the close to 400 participants from the Network of Guidance Counselors, members of the academe, and representatives of training institutions, student councils, parent–teacher associations, and industry associations who attended, saying this gathering was aimed at formulating concrete measures to address the lingering issue on jobs and skills mismatch and further strengthening youth employability in the country.

“The DOLE, in cooperation with its partner agencies under the umbrella of Cabinet-level Human Development and Poverty Reduction cluster, hopes to exchange ideas and best practices on career coaching and be updated on relevant labor market information (LMI) trends,” Baldoz said.

“The Congress also hopes to raise awareness and understanding on and drum up support for career advocacy and employment counseling so that career guidance counselors will be inspired to seriously take their role in forming the minds of the youth, and to assure them that the government is here to provide them needed support to better facilitate and promote career guidance as a relevant tool in youth development,” she added.

The government, Baldoz said, is focused on implementing career guidance advocacy on a nationwide scale using as one of its strategies a theme derived from the mainstream language of the social media—“Follow the Guide. Tag a Career. Like the Future.”

According to Baldoz, the Congress is an innovation, a detour from the traditional measures to address the issue on jobs and skills mismatch, and as such, it deserves a fresh and hip welcome by banking on the language known to people across almost all age brackets.

The NCAC is the realization of President Benigno S. Aquino III’s directive during his second State of the Nation Address to the Human Development and Poverty Reduction cluster to organize an interagency committee that will propose solutions on the compounding issue of youth employability and mismatch between jobs and skills mismatch.

On November 10, 2011, the committee convened and created an interagency communications strategy, which paved a way to make national and regional LMI trends, such as in-demand and hard-to-fill occupations, and publications, like occupational briefs and career industry guides, more accessible to the public. This gave birth to the Career Guidance Advocacy Program (CGAP). The NCAC is one of the strategies of the CGAP.

“This Congress is a mind opener, a challenge to the old order to keep up with the current,” Baldoz said, in anticipation of the event’s success.

There will be lectures, panel presentations on career guides, and open forum during the NCAC. Resource speakers with expertise on various subjects from the Business Processing Association, Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food, Philippine Constructors Association, Philippine Travel Association, and the De La Salle University – Angelo King Institute have been invited to facilitate the discussions.

There will also be discussions on the various government programs and interventions on career guidance, such as Integration of Career Guidance in the K to 12 Program; Priority Courses in Higher Education; Career Path in Trade Skills; Career Path in Science and Technology; Creative Approaches in Career Guidance in Nueva Viscaya, Bicol, and Zamboanga Peninsula; and Career Advocates’ Life Coaches and Mentors Network.

A market area have also been organized to provide a venue for showcasing major projects, products, and Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) materials on LMI and career guidance advocacy.