December 24, 2019
A technical cooperation project of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Board of Investments (BOI) is helping boost job creation in the Philippines through initiatives to improve curriculum and internship programs and to support Filipino start-up ecosystem.
An academe-industry summit held recently under the project Industrial Competitive Enhancement through Industrial Human Resource Development and Supply Value Chain Development identified improving the curriculum and internship programs tailor-fit to industry's needs as solutions to close the academe-industry gap and provide pathway to university graduates in getting jobs.
"Through this partnership with the Board of Investments (BOI) and Commission on Higher Education (CHED), JICA hopes to contribute to creating equitable opportunities to young Filipinos and ensure that they also benefit from the Philippines' economic growth," said JICA Philippines Chief Representative Yoshio Wada.
Participants in the event pointed out the need to improve the country's curriculum and internship program exposing students to more practical work and giving them other incentives during on-the-job trainings. Universities who attended the event include Laguna State Polytechnic University, Malayan Colleges, Mapua University, Batangas State University, Asia Pacific College, Adamson University, Technological University of the Philippines, De La Salle University, Colegio de San Juan de Letran, and the University of Perpetual Help System Laguna. Said universities are joined with private companies namely Nissan Philippines, Denso Philippines, EMS Components Assembly, Inc., Toyota Motors Philippines, and Nuvali Steel Processing Center among others.
Strengthening government-academe-industry collaboration is also part of the Philippine government's inclusive innovation strategy that aims to integrate the local automotive industry in the global value chain.
Aside from removing barriers between academe and industry, the JICA-BOI project is also supporting the Philippines' pipeline of young start-up companies that can match needs of Japanese investors. Through a pitch-event in Manila, several Filipino start-ups met with Japanese companies Rakuten Capital, Spiral Ventures, and SBI Holdings to explore future partnerships.
"The project somehow helped get the attention of Japanese investors into what Filipino start-ups can offer. The pitch event opened avenues for exchange of knowhow, talent, and markets between our countries and contribute in linking our startup ecosystem," said Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Rafaelita Aldaba.
Data from the IESE Venture Capital and Private Equity Country Attractiveness Index 2018 showed that the Philippines is fifth in terms of maturity of the start-up ecosystem in ASEAN next to Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia. Japanese companies who attended the pitch event said they had the opportunity to get to know more about the Philippine start-up ecosystem including their maturity level, and to plan their investments.
JICA has been supporting industrial human resource development in the Philippines for many years to help boost investments in the country's key industries like automotive where a number of major players are Japanese companies.