COVID-19 has impacted the plans and activities of many organisations. At Fair Training Center, we have had to close our training center as the health and safety “Community Quarantine” measures in Manila came into place in March this year. While our regular training sessions are on pause, our team has spent this time to help our graduates navigate these unprecedented times and prepare for the changes that are ahead in working abroad.
As we look ahead, we know that pre-migration training and migration will be changed greatly by COVID-19. Tens of thousands of Overseas Filipino Workers have been affected by the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and jobs. It will be more important than ever that our OFWs are prepared for migration and its realities.
Our first action when all of this began was to check-in with our graduates who are now working abroad as domestic workers in Hong Kong, Malaysia, and elsewhere. All our trainees keep in touch with us via our online community on Facebook. In the discussions on our Facebook forums, we were able to direct our trainees to reliable sources of information on the pandemic, share tips for safety and hygiene, and provide encouragement and mental health resources. We found that, especially in the beginning, workers struggled to find reliable information and understand how to protect themselves. Later on, we found workers being affected in their work as many of them were being asked to do more to disinfect their employer’s homes, and rest-days were affected by physical-distancing concerns. We continue to use our social media platforms to share updates, provide guidance on work-related issues, and support our trainees.
Training Centers, when they are able to resume operations, will need to comply with physical-distancing and other safety measures. New training regulations and requirements are being developed by the Philippine government technical skills training body. While we await these announcements, our team has begun working on developing a distance-learning curriculum of our pre-migration training. One of the challenges in distance-learning for us is the ability of our trainees across the country to access stable internet connections. We are developing a curriculum that will include a mix of digital and physical materials and have limited reliance on internet connection. It is a priority that we have a training ready-to-go to prepare workers for life and work abroad as we have been doing.
These several months have required our team to pivot from our regular activities, all the while working from home and being under community quarantine measures. We are grateful to our team for their continued resilience and perseverance during this time. Meet our team: here.