The Vocational School Project, implemented by the Haligi ng Bata, Inc. and funded by CO-OPERAID Switzerland, is a yearly 10-month development project which aims to provide vocational training for out-of-school youths and unemployed mothers in various La Union communities where there is alarming rates of secondary school drop-outs, underemployment, and under-16 pregnancy.
The project’s major activity – the actual vocational training – is implemented inside an accessible public elementary school. The vocational school teachers are sourced from the Sudipen Vocational School or from the La Union Alternative Learning System (ALS) Department.
Apart from providing vocational skills and training, the project also provides support for job placements, enrolling or re-enrolling in college by arranging “work-for-school” scholarships (for example, students trained in computer hardware and servicing will provide assistance in their school’s computer laboratory or school library), and getting nationally certified by the country’s Technical Skills and Development Authority (TESDA) so that they can get employed locally or overseas.
The first site of the vocational school project is the far-flung Tallaoen Community in Luna, La Union. Vocational courses offered were Computer Applications and Hardware Servicing and Cosmetology (Hair Science, Manicure, and Pedicure). Its elementary school, the Tallaoen Elementary School, was turned into as an accessible project site, after provisions of pertinent equipments and materials. The project started on January 2013 and benefitted a total of 61 vocational school students (36 for the Computer Applications Course and 25 for the Hair Science, Manicure, and Pedicure Course).
At the end of the project, 15 previously out-of-school youths are now back in school (some are in university and others are in high school). 27 of the trainees are now using what they have learned to earn income for their families; 10 trainees are now volunteer teachers of the Tallaoen Elementary School’s Technical and Vocational Subjects for Grades 4-6 students; and the 9 remaining trainees are using what they have learned in their daily lives which enables them to save their family’s income.
Currently, a second vocational school project is being implemented in the Ipet Community in Sudipen, La Union with the Sudipen Vocational High School as the accessible training venue. 50 out-of-school youths and young parents whose ages range from 15-28 years old attended the vocational training on Cosmetology and Commercial Cooking.