ADB to fund 5 networks in Bicol, Davao and Cebu

The government, in partnership with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), will award funding grants of up to $80,000 or P4.3 million to five so-called networks of enterprises in Bicol, Davao and Cebu under the SkillsUpNet Philippines (SUNPh) program.

SUNPh is described by ADB as “an innovative skills-delivery scheme led by employers in select locations, in which they band together to form networks and apply for grants on a competitive basis to finance short-term skills training for their workers and managers.”

Asian Development Bank–>

The grants to be given could range from $20,000 to $80,000 or P1.07 million to P4.3 million.

SUNPh is part of government’s National Employment Recovery Strategy 2021–2022 to improve workers’ access to jobs, livelihoods, and training. It is being implemented as a pilot program.

The ADB has identified the five awardees under its Phase 1 program as: Dagos Tabi Albay Micro and Small Accommodation Enterprises Network for the tourism sector; Cebu Constructors’ Network for construction; Cebuanimation Network for information technology-animation; Kapehan Sa Davao for agribusiness; and Sulong Davao Business Owned by Women for women-led enterprises.

Sixty-six enterprises and nearly 600 workers from the five networks will benefit from the enterprise-led skills training scheme, said the ADB.

“We all know that the COVID-19 pandemic caused major disruptions to employment and widened the skills–jobs mismatch in the Philippines,” said ADB Vice-President Ahmed M. Saeed on Thursday, Feb. 2.

“Through SkillsUpNet Philippines, we are helping the government with one innovative solution to addressing skills–jobs mismatches in the labor market, retooling and reskilling Filipino workers to raise productivity, and improving employees’ prospects for better opportunities and higher incomes,” he added.

According to the ADB statement: “Four priority industry sectors—information technology-animation, construction, agribusiness, and tourism—were identified to receive the enterprise-led workplace skills training under the SUNPh program. The program also includes women-led enterprises as a fifth sector to receive training grants for management coaching and other management-related training.”

Since 2021, the ADB and representatives from the Trade and Industry, Tourism, and Labor and Employment departments held consultations and orientation workshops to introduce the SUNPh program to enterprises across the country.

The ADB said technical workshops were also conducted in six locations in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao in May to July 2022. After the workshops, 18 networks were formed and applied for grant funding under the program for their training needs, it added.

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