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The Philippines’ DICT empowers MSMEs with ICT training

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The Philippine Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Region 7 is set to collaborate with Central Visayas regional offices of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to help upskill displaced workers.

The three regional agencies aim to provide employment or livelihood opportunities to job seekers in line with the government’s overall campaign to revitalise the Philippine economy that suffered blows from the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the DICT, the challenges brought by the pandemic exposed the vulnerabilities of the country’s society in terms of digital access. These vulnerabilities are not new issues, but existing social inequalities such as the digital divide that demand recalibrated solutions. To ensure that workers, entrepreneurs, and enterprises pull through the current challenges, the agency is aware of the need to address these gaps that hinder the drive towards inclusive growth and innovation.

According to a recent report from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), around 4 million Filipinos or 8.7% of the workforce remained unemployed as of January 2021, leaving a dent in the productivity of the country. To combat this, the DICT aims to equip the labour force with new skills through various upskilling and capacity-building initiatives enabled by information and communications technology.

DTI-7 Director said the collaborative initiative will help promote digital opportunities for both displaced workers, entrepreneurs, and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and business enterprises in the area. With TESDA’s reach and resources, the agencies hope to expand the coverage of upskilling programmes such as the DICT’s DigitalJobsPH.

Accordingly, the DICT through its DigitalJobsPH project is offering various free online technical training tracks on information and communications technology (ICT) to provide alternative learning opportunities for the working population whose livelihoods were adversely affected by the COVID-19 crisis. DICT Secretary said the participation of MSMEs from affected sectors is encouraged to boost their skills development during the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon and other parts of the country.

Moreover, the social media marketing track of the training will focus on proper management of social media platforms to optimise social campaigns and promote brand growth in the digital market so that affected MSMEs can strategise business plans even amid the pandemic. The training for the said track will run for seven days at 2 hours per session for a total of 14 hours, incorporating both lectures and “hands-on” activities, according to the DICT chief.

For the comprehensive affiliate marketing track, DICT said parents who have been jobless because of the quarantine will develop skill sets that will allow them to perform freelance jobs through a 10-day full-cycle training and support for a total of 20 hours. The agency said activities under this training include website creation using WordPress, content writing, search engine optimisation, and link building strategies.

Meanwhile, the project will also host four digital governance training for chief information officers, planning or policy officers, ICT service officers, ICT project managers, management information system officers, and ICT professionals of government and private organisations.

DICT developed these webinars in line with the social distancing and stay at home directives of the national government to help the working population adapt to the current situation that requires remote work as well as online learning.

The agency added that they are also set to launch various introductory training on Digital Governance ICT Service Management Framework, Privacy Impact Assessment of an Information and Communications System Programme or Project, Enterprise reference Architecture of Digital Transformation, and Data-Driven Governance and Digital Transformative Technologies.


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