Bayan Academy, J.P. Morgan repurpose and upgrade skills of Filipino workers

Posted under great on November 25, 2020
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It was a “life changing decision,” says 37-year-old Eva Martinez from Valenzuela City, when she underwent Bayan Academy’s Contact Center Service training. “I was in search for a job before the pandemic happened, so I was very worried that I wouldn’t be able to find one. But I know I have to upgrade my skills so I searched online and saw Bayan Academy’s training.”

With the free training she received, Eva was eventually hired by a BPO company, allowing her to continue supporting her family at this most difficult time.

Eva is just one of the hundreds of scholars who benefited from the Contact Center Service training offered by Bayan Academy, a social development organization that empowers Filipino workers through the years. Even before the pandemic, it has already started developing online courses and transitioning to digital learning to reach out to more people. The present situation validated Bayan Academy’s forward-looking decision.  

Bayan Academy, supported by global financial services giant J.P. Morgan, developed various online courses and programs, such as “Contact Center Services,” “Virtual Assistant,” and “Basic Programming.” The pandemic propelled the importance of the skills developed by these courses, as doing things and closing transactions in the new normal involves the digital economy.  

“The courses are indeed very timely. There is an urgency to help the unemployed, the outplaced, or the retrenched workers who want to learn new skills or upgrade their knowledge at the comforts of their home in order to still find employment and opportunities in the pandemic,” said Dr. Eduardo A. Morato, Jr., Chairman and President of Bayan Academy.

This statement is supported by Bayan’s partner in this endeavor, J.P. Morgan.

"We recognize how deeply the Covid-19 pandemic has affected everyone, especially workers who continue to make ends meet for their families. Our partnership with Bayan Academy is part of ongoing efforts to help rebuild the country by investing in human capital and equipping workers with skills necessary for their long-term success in this new normal,” said Carlos Ma. G. Mendoza, Senior Country Officer, J.P. Morgan Philippines.

The course Eva finished is an intensive 14-day course designed and implemented online by industry experts. When Bayan Academy launched the course, it was flooded with applications from people from all walks of life – stay-at-home moms, fresh grads, returning OFWs, to anyone who wants to upgrade their skills to become “useful” during these times. Bayan Academy, however, could only accommodate a handful as the course delivery online is hands-on and trainers personally supervise the J.P. Morgan scholars.  More schedules are in the pipeline. 

“During the training, I learned a lot that added to my knowledge. We were guided on how to properly answer during interviews. Even though I’m an alternative learning system (ALS) graduate, the training from Bayan Academy really boosted my confidence,” said Eva. “After the training, I applied online and exuded the confidence unlike before. I was immediately hired by a BPO company and Bayan Academy was a big part of my success!”

Eva’s success story is also reflected in the stories of various J.P. Morgan scholars enrolled in Bayan Academy’s online courses. They are proof that second – and better – opportunities are given to those who work hard to improve their lot in life and equip themselves with new skills.

This is the case of 32-year-old Maria Angilyn Sultan from Barangay Paltok in Quezon City. Prior to the pandemic, she took the Architectural Building Information Modeling (BIM) Essential training at Bayan Academy.  Aside from learning to use the Revit software for the BIM, she also learned “technopreneurship,” or how to take advantage of technology to market one’s services.

“The courses at Bayan Academy equip the participants not only with technical tools, but also the necessary life skills through the self-mastery module. This was very essential, which became very useful as they sailed through the challenges of the pandemic,” explained Dr. Morato.  “We have also instilled in them the importance of entrepreneurship, which is part of the 21st century skills needed by the workforce of the future.”

True enough, the pandemic drastically affected the real estate industry, and with that, a lot of architectural projects were put on hold. Maria Angilyn couldn’t find any BIM projects for the meantime, but the entrepreneur in her, which was developed during her training at Bayan Academy, was “awakened” as she started to use her computer skills to sell food online.  She is delighted with the success of her online business that she plans to do it alongside finding work in the real estate industry.

This kind of entrepreneurship skill was also instilled in Albert Acbang, 46, from Coron in Palawan. In 2018, he underwent the Basic Cookery course of Bayan Academy. He was planning to be employed but instead opened his own hospitality business. His decision paid off, as he is currently managing Coron Sunrise Pension House. Though affected by the pandemic, he uses his skills in the kitchen to cook, not only for his family, but for additional income.

This kind of adaptability is one of the life skills learned at Bayan Academy. For Romeo Mangaoang, a Cookery NCII with Technopreneurship scholar, his training helped him land a job on a cruise liner and now he is based in Nice, France. And when the Covid-19 pandemic hit this country, Romeo was able to adapt well with the situation.

“With my cookery training, I was able to use it here in France. When the pandemic hit, I couldn’t go out to eat, so I just cooked at home, which is safer,” Romeo said.  “With the whole training experience and discoveries you can get from the courses, it is important to value your learnings and use it to your advantage, even finding opportunities abroad for more income to help my family.”

Grateful graduates

“I’m very grateful to Bayan Academy for the opportunity by giving me not only free training, but also on how to improve our entrepreneurial skills. This allowed me to survive this pandemic because of the additional income,” said Maria Angilyn. 

 “To all the people behind Bayan Academy and J.P. Morgan, please continue doing good deeds for others! Thank you for giving us the opportunity to improve ourselves. This is indeed life changing – a good start for someone like me who is struggling to have a better future,” said Eva.

These trying times will challenge you, so equip yourself with the available resources, especially now that a lot of materials are offered online,” said Dr. Morato. “Like in the case of Eva, Maria Angilyn, Albert, and Romeo, the crisis is not a time to retreat but to equip ourselves further, retool our way of thinking, and update our skills.”

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