October 03, 2022
Like a lot of employed individuals, former merchandiser Aaron James Lasala lost his job during the COVID-19 pandemic. He almost lost hope until he heard of the three-month-long community-based skills training program initiated by First Gen-led Energy Development Corporation (EDC) that also 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 co-workers.”
The program was composed of courses on electrical installation and maintenance, shielded metal arc welding, scaffolding, and masonry that followed the Keitech Education Foundation’s (Keitech) technical-vocational curriculum. Keitech is EDC’s flagship technical-vocational institution that was established 14 years ago in Kananga, Leyte, where the company’s biggest geothermal facility is located. The school prides itself on having a consistent 100% passing rate in 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 Inc, TESDA Albay and Sorsogon, local government units of Manito and Sorsogon City, and the Department of Education (DepEd) 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 conducted to celebrate the first anniversary of the community-based skills training, the Palayan Binary team is thankful for achieving high employability rates among the graduates and for being an instrument of change in the lives of the trainees.
In his message during the awarding, Palayan Binary Project Manager Anthony Witkowsky 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 also proudly 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,” Escober stated.
Escober continuously strives for improvement and attends various training to develop new skills. She is now a certified Competent Person (CP), the first one from the group to achieve such certification. Escober was also recognized for being the Achiever of the Year for having a consistently outstanding performance at work.
Other special awards were also given to Sharmaine Arena, Jon-Jon Lasala, and Jayvit Jesalva for Most Committed Employee, Leadership Excellence, and Everyday Hero Award, respectively.
Representatives from EDC’s partner organizations also witnessed the awarding and sharing of testimonials of the trainees, including Engr. Gilda Ranido, TESDA Sorsogon Provincial Director,First Balfour Project HR Head Sarah Ondangan Engr. Christian Bongalos, EDC Project Execution Management Head and Project Manager of Palayan Binary FCRS Package, and Palayan Binary Team Neil Racho (Construction Manager), Sherwyn Pasamba (Safety Manager), and Tiffany Trasmer.
The Energy Development Corporation (EDC) is the leading 100% clean, renewable energy company in the Philippines, with over 40 years of experience in geothermal technology. With power plants located across the country, EDC is the world’s largest vertically integrated geothermal company. Environmental conservation and inclusive growth for its partner communities have always been embedded in its operations, both of which are crucial in fulfilling its mission to forge collaborative pathways for a decarbonized and regenerative future.