MANILA, PHILIPPINES (2 February 2023) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of the Philippines awarded on Thursday grants to five networks of enterprises based in the Bicol and Davao regions and Cebu province to support skills and competitiveness training for their employees.

The SkillsUpNet Philippines (SUNPh) program is 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. Under SUNPh, grants ranging from $20,000 to $80,000 were awarded to five networks of enterprises in five priority sectors. The program is part of the government’s National Employment Recovery Strategy 2021–2022 aimed at improving workers’ access to jobs, livelihoods, and training and supporting the private sector in creating sustainable work opportunities.

“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. “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.”

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.

ADB and representatives from the Trade and Industry, Tourism, and Labor and Employment departments held consultations and orientation workshops starting in the last quarter of 2021 to introduce the SUNPh program to enterprises across the country. Technical workshops were held 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.

Five networks were chosen to receive funding grants under phase 1 of the program. The awardees were 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.

SUNPh is being implemented as a pilot program, with the skills-training grant scheme targeted to be offered later to more sectors in more locations across the country.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.

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