MARINA, TESDA team up to upgrade skills of shipyard workers

The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) have recently partnered in developing training programs to upgrade the skills of workers in the shipbuilding and ship repair (SBSR) sector.

MARINA Administrator Robert Empedrad and TESDA Director General Isidro Lapeña, who virtually signed the memorandum of agreement last Oct. 11, said the partnership is another milestone for the sector which employed over 9,000 skilled and semi-skilled workers in 2019.

Empedrad emphasized the need for adequate skills and training among SBSR workers as they expect an increase in the demand for more employees for shipyards due to rising requests for repairs and shipbuilding by various local or foreign ships.

Empedrad, a former Philippine Navy chief, also recognized the contribution of the thousands of Filipino shipyard workers and technical professionals across the country, adding that the Philippine economy is largely dependent on the maritime industry.

To ensure the sustainable development of the maritime sector, Empedrad said they need to “empower the people behind the industry.”

This was echoed by MARINA Deputy Administrator for Operations Nannette Z. Villamor-Dinopol, who noted that the agency will continue to uphold the rights of Filipino SBSR workers to safe labor practices as well as fair treatment in the workplace.

“A positive work environment will boost the morale of our shipyard workers and enable them to perform more effectively to produce ships for the domestic and foreign markets. The only thing that will hold them back from achieving such great heights is inadequate skill and training,” Villamor-Dinopol said.

Meanwhile, Lapeña vowed to help identify and develop skills training curriculum for workers in the SBSR sector and other related maritime trades.

“[We] will work hand in hand to create training programs and competency assessments that will conform with international SBSR standards,” Lapeña assured.

TESDA currently has an existing Competency Standards for Boat Building (Composite Materials) Level II.

According to MARINA, upgrading the SBSR workforce is aligned with the objectives of the Maritime Industry Development Plan’s (MIDP) Program 5 which pursues the expansion of local shipyards in terms of capacity, capability, and facility.

It is also covered by Program 9 of the MIDP which aims to advance the competencies of the country’s maritime professionals including the investment in the quality of human capital resources that will raise the productivity and consequently, the profitability of the industry, the MARINA added.

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