ZAMBOANGA CITY, September 19, 2022 – Some 102 guidance counselors and career advocates from across Zamboanga Peninsula gained a thorough understanding of new strategies in preparing the youth for the world of work.

The Labor Department organized the 2022 Regional Career Advocacy Congress (RCAC) with the theme “Learn. Adapt. Thrive: Rising above Employment Challenges in the Post-pandemic Future” on September 1-2, 2022 at the Ballroom, Garden Orchid Hotel, Gov. Camins Avenue, Zamboanga City.

The annual gathering aims to recalibrate and capacitate guidance counselors and career advocates by reinforcing adaptability, creativity and other innovative strategies to support the shifts happening in the world of work and to help the youth prepare for the future labor market through optimizing education and employment support systems.

Atty. Roy L. Buenafe, DOLE 9 Regional Director thanked the Guidance Counselors and Career Advocates for their continuous support and implementation of the Career Guidance Advocacy Program through their innovative and creative strategies to guide the youth in making informed career choices and to reduce the job mismatch and underemployment in the region.

In her opening remarks DOLE 9’s Assistant Regional Director, Imelda F. Gatinao, opened the minds and hearts of the participants with an existential statement “know your why”, which put the frame of mind in being a productive one. She challenged the participants to address the standing issues on job mismatch and the need for development consultations for productive employment amidst the pressing concerns brought by the pandemic.

“Learning is a continuous process, one thing which can keep your future-ready is re-engineering. The behaviors that carried us through yesterday are not necessarily what will help us tomorrow hence people need to adapt and evolve to the demands of this uncertain world,” said Dr. Francis Ray Subong, Vice President for External Affairs for PGCAin his keynote speech.

Ms. Grace Baldoza, Chief of LMIRCGAD, BLE presented the topic “Making Use of Skills Framework towards Enhanced Career Guidance Advocacy” and highlighted the 10 skills identified by the world economic forum which are essential for the future, further classified into four categories such as problem solving, self-management, working with people and technology use and development.

Various speakers from the private sector and public sector TWG members namely: DOST, CHED, DepEd, PRC and TESDA presented topics that centered on the core theme: THRIVE, LEARN and ADAPT.

These include leadership and empowerment for guidance counselors, strategies and approaches in preparing the young people for the future labor market, digital tools and techniques for online guidance counseling, policies and interventions for career guidance in the face of the pandemic.

Under the LEARN component, topics explored were policies and interventions in the process of transitioning to the FIRe or Industry 4.0, mechanisms to address competencies required to deliver quality career services, initiatives and programs, role of career guidance counselors and career advocates in preparing the youth for the labor demand and the changing labor market.

Basic counseling skills in the new normal were also discussed along with the updated Philippine Development Plan: Philippine Government’s Roadmap to Recovery

The RCAC also served as the venue to bring up the issues and concerns of our guidance counselors and career advocates such as how to thrive in a VUCA (vulnerable, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world, transitioning to digitization and the salary standardization of GCs.

DOLE 9 is the first to conduct the RCAC for this year in a hybrid set-up with speakers and participants joining in person and via ZOOM.

Participants were all delighted and grateful to be part of the momentous event as Ms. Estrelita Pe a said in her impression, “This is one of the best congress I have ever attended, the DOLE 9 working force has made a tremendous preparation which led to the successful conduct of the 2022 Regional Career Advocacy Congress. Congratulations!” With reports from April Jane C. Barretto, LEO-III, TSSD (EDT/KCG)