Aboitiz TechVoc scholars thrive under the ‘new normal’

THEN AND NOW. (Left) Aboitiz-Dualtech Scholar Pelagio Guanzon II in his early years as student. (Right) Guanzon is currently working  as a maintenance technician for an electrical manufacturing company

The COVID-19 pandemic brought a lot of challenges to schooling and learning, yet it did not demotivate the  Aboitiz Technical Vocational scholars to finish their education.

The Aboitiz Foundation Technical Vocational (TechVoc) Program currently supports two technical vocational educational institutions: the Banilad Center for Professional Development in Cebu, and the Dualtech Training Center in Laguna.

The current batch of Aboitiz TechVoc scholars finished their program last June 2021. Despite the limitations of face-to-face training – the main mode of learning in TechVoc education – the scholars graduated at the top of their class.

Pelagio Guanzon II, one of the pioneer Aboitiz scholars in the Dualtech Training Center, uprooted himself from Bohol, his hometown, and took his chances in Laguna hoping for a life-changing opportunity. Like many other youths in the province who come from poor families, he put education aside  and worked part time  jobs as a laborer. Guanzon was ready to settle down until he learned about Dualtech. He realized it would be better to earn a degree so he’ll have better opportunities for work.

Mas maganda pa rin pala ang may pinag-aralan. Kaya noong nalaman ko po ang Dualtech, hindi na ako nagdalawang-isip na i-grab ang chance para makapag aral. Kung mabibigyan kayo ng opportunity para mag-aral, ‘wag ninyong sayangin dahil ang Aboitiz Foundation ay matutulungan tayong abutin ang ating mga pangarap (I realized it is always better to finish one’s studies. When I learned about Dualtech, I did not hesitate to grab the chance to study. If you are given the opportunity to study, do not waste it; Aboitiz Foundation can help us reach our dreams),” said Guanzon, who is now employed as a maintenance technician.

Dualtech lauded Aboitiz Foundation as one of its exceptional scholarship partners amidst the pandemic. Arnolfo Morfe, President of Dualtech Training Center, congratulated the scholars for having exceeded his expectations.

“It is the best batch among the sponsorships. I was expecting that perhaps some would fall out normally, as in other groups, especially since COVID-19 struck us last year. The pioneer batch of Aboitiz scholars survived with flying colors,” he said, adding that the incoming batch of Aboitiz scholars were chosen not on the basis of poverty alone but because they have ambitions.

All 20 Aboitiz scholars, the pioneer batch in Dualtech, completed their program with four finishing with awards.

Women Empowerment

The Aboitiz TechVoc Program also empowers  women to pursue national certifications from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

Dwinzelle Suico is a graduate of Hotel and Restaurant Services II (HRS II) from Banilad Center for Professional Development (BCPD), an all-girls techvoc training center in Cebu. She was a working student and an Aboitiz scholar at the same time. She emphasized that the support she got from Aboitiz Foundation made her life easier as a student, and told fellow scholars that nothing is impossible if you have the drive to succeed.

THEN AND NOW. (Left) Dwinzelle Suico during her on-the-job training in a local cafe in Cebu. (Right) Suico graduates from Banilad Center for Professional Development with three TESDA NC II certifications

“”Don’t worry about the tuition fees. What’s important is your willingness to learn. I got the scholarship from Aboitiz Foundation  for having good grades in my secondary level,” said Suico, who graduated from BCPD last April and has since achieved four TESDA NC II Certifications.

Aboitiz Foundation President and COO Maribeth L. Marasigan stressed how having the right institutional partners played a key role in the success of the Aboitiz techvoc scholars under the new normal.

“Like many academic institutions, we are happy to know that our techvoc partner schools have quickly adapted to how education must continue, without sacrificing the level of learning and quality of skills of the students. We very much appreciate all our scholars who graduated with awards, and those who were immediately absorbed by their on-the-job training partners. With this bright opportunity for the youth, we are glad to be partnering again with Banilad Center for Professional Development and Dualtech Training Center for the school year 2021-2022. We know that once the scholars graduate, employment will come easy as their expertise is highly needed by the workforce,” Marasigan said.

For the school year 2021-2022, the Aboitiz Foundation Technical Vocational Scholarship Program will have 68 scholars. Since its inception in 2005, the program has produced 4,561 graduates.

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About Aboitiz Foundation

The Aboitiz Foundation is the corporate foundation of the Aboitiz Group that was established in 1988. Its purpose is to drive change for a better world by advancing business and communities through programs on education, enterprise development, and environment. Since its inception in 1988, the Foundation’s CSR interventions have evolved from one-time donations to carefully designed programs that empower its beneficiaries to pursue their aspirations.

Today, the Aboitiz Foundation, through the Aboitiz Business Units, develops and implements corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs or CSR 2.0 projects that aim to co-create safe, empowered, and sustainable communities. These CSR 2.0 projects are aligned to the Group’s core competencies, are scalable nationwide, and create a deeper social impact on the communities and beneficiaries it serves.

[Article submitted by Jowelle Ann Cruz, Aboitiz Foundation, Inc.]