TESDA gives seaman a second wind at career

05 Feb 2011

Like most OFWs, 35-year old Rey Samputon believed that working abroad promises prosperity and a better life.

In college, he took up a maritime course in Bicol so he could work as a seaman overseas.

“I know that there are a lot employment opportunities in the maritime industry. I wanted to try my luck,” Samputon said.

For nine years, he worked as a seaman for various international ship companies, sacrificing loneliness and leaving behind a wife and a child.

He was able to invest in a house and provide for his family’s needs and thought that his good fortune abroad would last. Unfortunately, a global economic recession affected his company and he was forced to come home in 2008.

Samputon was among those who were retrenched.

“I was devastated. I felt that we will go back to being poor again because there are not many good jobs in the Philippines and the salaries are low,” he said.

While in Manila , Samputon became jobless for months. He tried to apply for work but was rejected so many times because he had no experience in other fields.

One day, while riding on a jeepney, he saw a Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) advertisement on courses they offer for a scholarship.

“I was a bum for so many months after going back to the Philippines . When I saw the TESDA ad, I was filled with hope. I thought why not enroll under their scholarship program, maybe an opportunity will open up for me. So I took up an AUTOCADD technician course,” Samputon said.

After finishing the course, he started his own AUTOCADD service and only a few months after opening shop, he has already gained a steady stream of loyal clients.

“Today, thanks to TESDA I have a stable business. I am a freelance AUTOCADD technician and By God’s grace, I have already faithful clients here and even abroad that keeps my business secure. Most of my clients are even from abroad, particularly from US architectural firms, I got them from the internet,” Samputon enthused.

He almost lost hope when he lost his job as a seaman but TESDA proved to be his biggest blessing.

“TESDA gave me a second chance when I lost my job as a seaman. After my training, I immediately got a job and even started my own business. What is good is that I don’t have to be far away from my family,” Samputon said.

TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva, for his part, said the government is working very hard to provide jobs for Filipinos here in the country.

“That’s why we have various trainings and courses for Filipinos. We offer them the trainings and afterwards, the employment opportunities here so they don’t need to go abroad. We also want to assure those who are coming home after working abroad that TESDA can help them get employed here after taking TESDA courses. Providing employment is one of our major thrusts,” Villanueva said.

“We also want to tell returning OFWs that they can work here and earn well. The government is building a sound economy that produces good jobs. We at TESDA, are building a workforce that has the flexibility to acquire new skills for new jobs as structures of economies and occupations change,” he said.


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