Ladies and gentlemen, a good morning to you all.

Today, we are formally launching the Philippine Skills Framework (PSF) Initiative together with our partners from the national government, industry, and the private sector.

As we continue with our efforts to grow and develop competitive and innovative Filipino enterprises, the need to reskill and upgrade the skills of our human capital and workforce remains a crucial part of our plans. This is essential, so that our industries can increase and sustain their competitiveness under the Fourth Industrial Revolution (or 4IR) and move us closer to our goal of becoming an industrialized nation. Through this goal, we aim to have our people achieve better employment opportunities that will provide them with a higher income.

Skills development is a key pillar of our Inclusive Innovation Industrial Strategy (i³S). This involves the implementation of enhancements in our country’s formal education curriculum, improvements in our technical and vocational education training, and refinements in our higher education system.

This also requires the active involvement and support of stakeholders from industry and private sector to inform and provide government the needed advice on what the market demands from our workers and potential employees. As such, more than a whole-of-government, this initiative needs a whole-of-society approach to ensure its success. As President Rodrigo Roa Duterte once said during his inaugural address, anything of national importance significance needs the cooperation and support of the people.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution has made the need for reskilling and upskilling a greater imperative than ever before, as the world of work is being transformed.

In its Future of Jobs Report 2020, the World Economic Forum (WEF) highlights that the increasing adoption and utilization of digital technologies in industry are expected to redefine tasks, jobs, and skills as soon as 2025.

We are already experiencing this ourselves—especially during the pandemic. The Future of Work is upon us as working remotely from home or from sites other than the office becomes more common. The wide use of digital tools and technologies in performing tasks is also now considered essential.

Today’s digital world and the future economy are expected to be volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous, we also need to guard against skills obsolescence. This is a situation in which skills become irrelevant over time because of transformations in the world of work, and workers are unable to adjust and adapt to these changing conditions.

Hence, we should speed up, scale up, and be more strategic in our efforts to develop the skills of our human capital and our workforce, considering that the need for skills upgrading under the 4IR is challenging.

What has become apparent is that the speed and breadth of the digitalization and automation under the 4IR are rapidly creating demand for a range of new skillsets. These challenge companies to upgrade their workers’ existing capabilities faster.

For instance, a 2021 McKinsey report states that around 53% of companies consider reskilling their current workforce as the most useful action while 20% are looking to hire additional talent. Meanwhile, 20% consider redeploying workers to new roles, and 6% will possibly opt for outsourcing.

The same report noted that about 43% of companies are saying that their companies are currently experiencing skills gap now, while 44% expect the skills gap to occur in the next 2-5 years in their companies. Moreover, the business areas with the biggest skills gap are in data analytics, IT and web design, executive management, and HR and talent management.

Nonetheless, it is crucial to consider that the demands of the future economy go beyond proficiency in digital and technical skills. This is particularly important in the context of the pandemic and the anticipated wave of automation that will impact many industries.

As companies move beyond physical and manual operations, they must also prioritize developing the social and advanced cognitive skills of their workers in order for them to adapt to the changing landscape of the world of work.

Towards this, many companies are focusing their reskilling efforts on leadership, critical thinking and decision-making, project management, adaptability and continuous learning, basic digital skills, and interpersonal skills and empathy.

By 2025, the World Economic Forum (WEF) forecasts that the global top 5 skills will include: analytical thinking and innovation; active learning and learning strategies; complex problem- solving; critical thinking and analysis; and creativity, originality, and initiative. Thus, the skilling initiative that we need to implement for our people and our workforce should include both hard and soft skills, as well as competencies that are industry-specific and cross-sectoral in application.

The Philippine Skills Framework (PSF) Initiative

How then can we proceed with implementing such a skilling initiative for our people and our workers?

Consistent with our i³S strategy, we are adopting the approach that relies on the active collaboration among government, industry, and the academic and training community. We are employing an instrumental tool for these three key actors to communicate using the same language: the Skills Framework.

The Philippine Skills Framework (PSF) Initiative is an inter-agency effort to build the skills and competencies of our human capital and better prepare our country’s workforce for the future economy. This involves the development of sector-specific skills frameworks that will guide the country’s workers in enhancing their skills for particular job roles.

The PSF will benefit from the experience of Singapore through their SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) agency. Singapore’s skills framework approach offers a reference for the Philippines on how to develop its own frameworks. This also takes into consideration the circumstances of our local industries and the current skills and competencies of our workers in these sectors.

A skills framework, in simple terms, is a common reference or language that employers and workers share in order to ensure the match between jobs and skills.

This will provide the following:

  • Relevant sectoral information, including its employment landscape;
  • The various occupations/job roles, which describe the skills requirement, work context, and expected profile of the worker performing the occupation/job role;
  • The skills description that defines the performance expectations from each skill;
  • The career pathways, or how these occupations/job roles in the sector are structured progressively; and,
  • Possible training programs, which link the skills identified under particular occupations/job roles to programs available.

Through the PSF, employers will be able to identify the skills and competencies a potential employee must have to be able to effectively fulfill a job role. Companies can also use the framework to design progressive human resource management and talent development plans for their employees.

For their part, job-seekers will be able to define ways forward or upward in a particular industry by specifying the skills and competencies that they would need to acquire in order to advance in their chosen career path.

Furthermore, educational and training institutions can use the skills framework to revise existing curricula or design new courses. This would capacitate workers with the competencies demanded by industry currently and in the future.

What is unique with skills framework is that these equip an individual worker to make an informed decision about his/her career choices as well as take responsibility for his/her own skills development. And because these are industry-informed and validated, the match between jobs and skills is assured.

Under our PSF Initiative, we are prioritizing the following sectors: construction, creatives, food (agriculture and fishery); health and wellness; IT-BPM; logistics and supply chain; manufacturing; and tourism.

To this end, we will launch the first-ever PSF—the PSF for the Supply Chain and Logistics Sector—later this afternoon.

This was prepared in collaboration by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Philippine Trade Training Center (PTTC), the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC). Also contributing here were stakeholders from the local supply chain and logistics industry, with the assistance of consultants from the Singapore Institute of Materials Management, Accelebator, and Thames International Business School.

Our intention is for the various PSFs to be integrated and harmonized with their corresponding Industry Roadmaps, which have been guiding our industry development initiatives under our Manufacturing Resurgence Program (MRP). As various industries are being impacted by digital technologies in different ways and intensities, the PSF will help workers in these industries to better prepare themselves to withstand future disruptions or be able to deal with these more resiliently.

To ensure the success of the PSF Initiative, DTI, TESDA, and PRC will be joined by the departments of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Education (DepEd), Agriculture (DA), Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Science and Technology (DOST), Tourism

(DOT), as well as the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). Together, we will establish inter- agency bodies that will serve as mechanisms for the initiative’s effective implementation.

Pushing Sustainable Competitiveness and Inclusive Development

Skills training and development is investment in our human capital. This means investing in our people. By reskilling and upskilling them, we are building a future-ready Filipino workforce.

Through our Philippine Skills Framework (PSF) Initiative, we are confident that the Filipino worker will be better prepared for the challenges of the future economy. More importantly, we will be able to provide more and better employment opportunities for our people, set them up to earn higher income, and reduce poverty in the country.

Likewise, by enhancing the skills and competencies of our workers, we will be supporting the productivity of our enterprises, ensuring the competitiveness of our industries, and sustaining the growth of our economy.

As we address the Future of Work today, we are also building today, the Future of our nation. We envision this future in which our people will not have to leave their families behind to go abroad in search for better employment opportunities, and they will proudly and passionately do their work in our country for better income appropriate to their skills.

A greater and more comfortable quality of life for our countrymen—this was the promise made, and will now be the legacy of the Duterte administration to all Filipinos. Thank you and mabuhay tayong lahat.

Date of Release: 29 June 2021