Digital training for young people in the Philippines


Passerelles numériques is a French NGO based in Asia, which has been offering professional training in the digital sector to underprivileged young people since 2005. Its ambition is to help 90% of them find a first job and long-term employability. Founded in Cambodia, the association is also now in Vietnam and in the Philippines, on the central island of Cebu, where despite growing pauperization, the IT sector is exploding.

A holistic approach

On the Visayas archipelago in the Philippines, young people of 16 to 20 years old are chosen based on their motivation and their family’s modest income. “We need motivated young people,” underlines Eléonore Iriart, who is the director of the association’s branch in the Philippines. The aim is to enable them to escape poverty and contribute to the country’s development.” The association therefore adopts a holistic approach to improve their chance of success: “we provide accommodation, food, health cover, psychological assistance, extra-curricular activities, and vocational training.” This includes a general curriculum to prepare students for the labour market – including English, general knowledge, speaking in public, and teamwork – but above all, recognized training in digital professions in partnership with the University of San Carlos, one of the most reputed universities in Cebu. Following a two-year course, including two semesters combined with work experience, the students are helped to find work through an alumni network and a partnership with 36 local companies.

Creation of a pilot class on Software and Web development

With a core curriculum on software development, a pilot class of 49 students was launched at the start of the 2015 academic year, widening the choice of specializations to include Java development, web development, system administration, and software testing. These young people, trained on cutting-edge equipment, can immediately meet companies’ requirements, thereby facilitating their professional integration. As part of this project, the Air Liquide Foundation financed the acquisition of drones, educational mini-PCs, and computer kits to assemble. “These resources enable us to prepare students for their future jobs with playful activities that make a change from the very theory-based classroom activities, and provide concrete results,” notes Eléonore Iriart. Above all, people are taking an interest in this innovative course: “it’s the companies that contact us to hire our students!  Since 2009, 100% of our students have found work within two months of graduating.”

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Testimonials

The project is highly focused on bridging the gap between students and companies through IT education. In the Philippines, the majority of young people do not have access to quality education due to its high cost. So, any help that we can give these students, together with Passerelles numériques, is already a big step in building a brighter future for these students. And there is no other way we could reach out, but to gear the students up for what the industry needs and eventually break the poverty cycle in the Philippines.

John Carlo Rallos
Air Liquide Philippines