To prepare the youth in responding to the varying employment trends, to empower students in making informed career decisions and to address problems of jobs and skills mismatch, the Department of Labor and Employment in Zamboanga Peninsula implements the Career Guidance Advocacy Program (CGAP) hand in hand with the provision of a responsive and updated Labor Market Information (LMI).

Rowena Clemenia experienced the program first-hand.

“Before coming transferring to Dipolog City to study, I was an AB Psychology student in Cebu City. Due to some unforeseen circumstances, I had to move back to Dipolog City. I was appalled to discover that no school in Dipolog was offering my course,” shared Rowena Clemenia.

Just when she was ready to enroll to any course to obtain a diploma, she chanced upon Saint Vincent’s College (SVC) Guidance Office and met Ms. Sylvia Sumondong, GCNet Zamboanga del Norte Chapter President and Guidance Counsellor.

GCNET RIDING THE WAVE DESPITE PANDEMIC

According to Ms. Sumondong, to address the needs of the learners and to facilitate the immediate delivery of the program, the GCNet intensified the career development programs through integration to the different programs and subjects and conduct of limited face to face seminars, if permitted, as well as online webinars among the graduating students on topics like Workforce Trends and other related topics as their preparation to the world of work as well as Mental Health Webinars.

GCNet is also advocating for the establishment of Career, Advocacy & LMI Corner in all public and private education institutions.

Ms. Sumondong shared that because of the COVID-19 pandemic which led to the suspension of face-to-face classes, the GCnet was able to reach out to students through social media by conducting series of webinars in partnership with different schools and colleges.

One of the advantages of the conducted webinars was the participation of parents or guardians. Thus, active participation and interactions among the parents and the learners were established. These webinars were also broadcasted live via Facebook which ensured a wider reach among social media users.

Ms. Editha Acabal, Guidance Counselor of Zamboanga del Norte National High School, made sure that parents are involved in the implementation of the Career Guidance programs by informing them of the schedule of activities ahead of time. This approach aims to inform not just the student but as well as their parents on what career path the students are going to take as they are presented with the different Senior High School Tracks as well as the latest trends on the Labor Market Information.

Ms. Acabal also shared that aside from catering to walk-in clients, they are also conducting virtual guidance counseling and even receive phone calls from students and parents.

Mr. Reynald Kyamko, Vice President of GCNet Zamboanga del Norte Chapter and Education Program Specialist from Department of Education – Dipolog City Schools Division, explained that the intensification of the career guidance program was done through its integration in the different learning areas and subjects from the Kindergarten up to the Senior High School.

He shared that the learners have benefitted a lot from the program as DepEd in partnership with GCNet and DOLE made sure that teaching personnel and career guidance advocates are capacitated and provided with necessary materials on labor market information. He also shared that all schools were encouraged to utilize Facebook pages to post their announcements and information on Career Guidance.

“All these strategies will not be possible without the technical assistance and support that DOLE is providing us. Through the LMI, we are able to identify what our students need and how to provide them with it,” Ms. Sumondong said.

DOLE ZDNFO Chief Labor and Employment Officer (LEO) and Field Office Head Lourdes Amores also expressed her appreciation to GCNet. “Thank you GCNet for coming up with very laudable activities as gesture of sincere service to our needing clients,” Chief LEO Amores said. In her message to the series of webinars in the weeklong celebration of Career Guidance week with a theme: “We care, we share” which the chapter conducted free of charge.

CGAP CHANGING STUDENTS’ LIVES

After meeting with Ms. Sumondong and reviewing numerous possibilities awaiting her, Rowena finally settled for a college course that is most suitable to her.

“The CGAP made me realize that it is better to have a diploma which is right for you compared to having it for the sake of just acquiring a paper. CGAP truly guided me to the right path, and I am forever grateful because it made me who and where I am today as I was able to experience the right career pathing,” she proudly said.

Rowena is now a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, finally receiving her diploma in March 2021.

She also shared that after she graduated, she started her online business, and it was doing great. Then, another opportunity came for her. Rowena is now working at the DOLE ZDNFO as TUPAD Coordinator. “I am currently working now in a place where I was able to assist people which really strengthened my purpose as a person,” Rowena shared.

Glenn Mark Abria, another college student from SVC who’s also a beneficiary of DOLE’s Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES) shared that the career guidance program served as medium for him to gain a clearer career path.

“The impact of career guidance for me is that I learned to give emphasis to education. Through career guidance, I am led to a right track especially in my studies. Thus, I can say I have no regrets,” Glenn said.

DOLE 9 continues to engage with Career Guidance Advocates to better prepare the youth for various challenges that may come their way and lead them to much brighter, fulfilled quality lives. ###

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