PALO,Leyte- About 50 people finished a three-month course study on heavy equipment operations(HEO) at the “Araw” Vocational Training School, a facility put up by the South Korean contingents as part of their humanitarian mission after Leyte was devastated by supertyphoon “Yolanda” more than a year ago.
The HEO graduates were from the town of Tolosa, one of the areas in Leyte which saw destructions during the onslaught of Yolanda. The training on heavy equipment operations was supervised by the Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA). Earlier, the said facility also offered HEO from the residents of Palo, Tanauan and Tacloban City, three of the areas in the province that bore the brunt of Yolanda. Out of the 50 new graduates, eight had specialized training for wheel loader; 10 for hydraulic excavator; 9 for truck mounted crane; 10 for bulldozer operation and 13 for pork lift operation and had successfully finished their 160 hours training that lasted for three months. As part of the new graduates employability TESDA Regional Director Cleta Omega announced that they will undergo a two month on-the-job training(OJT) which they will coordinate with the Department of Public Works and Highways and the provincial government of Leyte to link them with contractors. “This is to boost their self-confidence when they apply a job, because the training they had in the center was a simulation training that is different from actual operation,” Omega explained.

The OJT is part of their enhancement for the training facility which they conceptualized after TESDA and the provincial government. The trainees who will undergo OJT will be provided with group insurance. “We are doing this to strengthen this program, to make the trainees ready for the real workplace,” Omega stressed. Among the graduates was Maria Teresa Compas, 40, a resident of Barangay Opong, Tolosa and one of the three women in the batch. Compas, who only reached second year high school, said that while the training was largely seen as for men only, she nevertheless took the course and the challenge in order to help her husband. Her husband is working in Saudi Arabia to help feed and raise their eight children.
She said that at first she encouraged one of her son to take the course but decline. She decided to take the training herself instead. (ROEL T. AMAZONA)