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ADB to launch program to help create 'green' jobs.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is set to launch a program this year that will provide funding to local businesses and help them transition into 'green' industries.

In an interview, ADB Philippines Country Director Kelly Bird told the BusinessMirror they are now finalizing the details for their 'Enterprise-led Learning Network [ELLN]' program.

'We are still going through the costing.... We hope we will be able to launch it by July or August,' Bird said at the sidelines of the recently concluded 51st ADB Annual Meeting in Mandaluyong City.

ELLN is a joint initiative of the ADB and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), where selected companies can apply for grants to provide short-term skills training to their employees.

'It can be easily used for helping the transition from brown to green jobs, or also used to help them transition to the changing technology [in workplaces],' Bird said.

Brown jobs refer to those from economic activities that are dependent on fossil fuel and unsustainable operations, while green jobs are those from industries, which make use of cleaner energy and environment-friendly business practices.

Initially, Bird said they are considering allocating $1 million for the pilot of ELLN. 'The idea is for them [firms] to constantly have access to funding so that they could constantly upgrade the skills of their workers. It will be through a competitive process,' Bird said.

'We are looking at piloting it this year in three to four regions and in three to four sectors. These sectors should be where there are jobs-skills mismatch,' he added. ELLN is an offshoot of the ADB's previous Tourism Industry Skills Development Program with the Department of Tourism, which ran from 2014 to 2016.

The ADB said the program succeeded in boosting the competitiveness of 58 tourism firms by upgrading the skills of their workers.

A total of 7,545 workers from Bohol, Davao, Palawan and Cebu benefited from the two-year program.

'Average cost of that short-term training was $200 per employee. So we would imagine that would be the same number under this [ELLN] pilot,' Bird said.

The ADB is currently prioritizing capacity-building programs in the Philippines to help it cope with climate change and technological advancements in the workplace.

In its 'Asian Development Outlook [ADO] 2018: How Technology Affects Jobs' report, the ADB estimated $101 million per year was lost in the Asia-Pacific region from 2005 to 2015 due to new technology.

It, however, said this was offset by the creation of 134 million jobs per year in the region from new industries, most of which are from the green sector. The ADO highlighted the importance of providing the necessary education and skills training to workers, which will be crucial for countries in the Asia Pacific to minimize displacement from the introduction of technology in workplaces.

'The first thing that they would want to do is really to build their own capacity by bringing in experts from abroad. But at the end of the day, they should aim on how you build enough capacity from the ground,' ADB Southeast Asia Human and Social Development Division Director Ayako Inagaki said.

'I think the core solution for this is for universities or institutions in the country to be able partner with their overseas counterparts to get experts from abroad,' she added.

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Publication:Business Mirror (Makati City, Philippines)
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:May 6, 2018
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