EDC corporate relations head Ed Jimenez (standing, 2nd from left) and Palayan Binary Project team head Anthony Witkowski (6th from left) with the Palayan Binary team and the winners of the special awardsLike a lot of employed individuals, former merchandiser Aaron James Lasala lost his job during the pandemic. He heard of the three-month long community-based skills training program initiated by Energy Development Corporation (EDC) that provided good prospects for employment. He shared how this opportunity from EDC’s Palayan Binary Project team in Bacman (Bacon-Manito) changed his life.
“The moment I heard about the skills training program conducted by EDC, I grabbed this opportunity. Then, I became a skilled scaffolder. I also realized that I now have a deep understanding and value for my personal safety and the safety of my coworkers,” Lasala said.
The program was composed of courses on electrical installation and maintenance, shielded metal arc welding, scaffolding and masonry that followed KEITECH’s technical-vocational curriculum. KEITECH is EDC’s flagship technical-vocational institution that was established 14 years ago in Kananga, Leyte. The school prides itself on having a consistent 100% passing rate in the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority’s (TESDA) national certification courses.
The skills training program was also made possible through EDC’s partners such as First Balfour, TESDA Albay and Sorsogon, the local government units of Manito and Sorsogon City, and the Department of Education Sorsogon City.
More than a year since it started, Lasala and over a hundred other trainees who graduated from the program are now fully employed in construction projects under First Balfour and other contractors working for the Palayan Binary Project on the Bacman Geothermal Project site. These first-year results indicate that EDC is on its way to achieving the same success that it had in KEITECH Leyte through its community-based skills training in Bacman.
In a short program to celebrate the first anniversary of the community-based skills training, Palayan Binary Project manager Anthony Witkowski said that the team decided to organize a face-to-face event to “celebrate the milestones and small wins the training graduates have attained a year after we initiated the training. It’s good to hear the inspiring stories and experiences of the trainees for being part of the program and working under EDC projects.”
Lasala was recognized several times for exercising safety leadership and has received three safety-related awards at work, including the Safety Champion award granted by the EDC Palayan Binary team.
Monette Escober shared her success story from being jobless to a breadwinner. “I had no stable job before joining the training. After the three-month course, I am fortunate to get a good-paying job that can now provide for my family’s needs,” she stated.
Escober continuously strives for improvement and attends various training to develop new skills. She is now a certified Competent Person, the first one from the group to achieve the certification, and was also recognized for being the Achiever of the Year.
Special awards were also given to Sharmaine Arena, JonJon Lasala and Jayvit Jesalva— Most Committed Employee, Leadership Excellence and Everyday Hero, respectively.
Representatives from EDC’s partner organizations witnessed the awarding and sharing of testimonials of the trainees, including Engr. Gilda Ranido, TESDA Sorsogon provincial director; Sarah Ondangan, First Balfour project HR head; Engr. Christian Bongalos, EDC project execution management head and Palayan Binary FCRS Package project manager; and the Palayan Binary team’s construction manager Neil Racho, safety manager Sherwyn Pasamba and Tiffany Trasmer. (Story/Photos by: Jolly Jamoralin)