Step Up sa Pangarap Virtual Summit day three closes with talks on managing finances and securing a better future by investing in one’s education

On the last day of the Step Up Sa Pangarap Virtual Summit, speakers shared their advice on how one can better manage finances and make education a top investment opportunity that one can take.

May 18, 2023
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The first speaker was Ed Fermin, Vice President for Academic Affairs of National Teachers College, who has over two decades of expertise training teachers and teaching a variety of learners. He has received multiple distinctions both in the Philippines and abroad and one of the main advocacies in his career is to make education accessible, sustainable, and of high quality and impact. He believes the best investment one can make is education. “Investing in education can mean a lot of things for you… Because it’s the best investment you can make, it is important that you understand how you can make that decision,” he said. “You would like to go to a college that makes your future clear. Pag apply mo pa lang tatanungin ka na ‘Ano ba talaga ang nakikita mo para sa sarili mo?’ It takes a huge amount of assessing the kind of choices, capabilities, and of course strengths or probably weaknesses that you have. If that college can help you make that decision and eventually match you to a particular degree program or a course, then the future can become so much clearer for you.” He then went on in stating that you need a college or university that moves you ahead of the rest. “Does the institution of your choice know the employability trends in various industries? Can they help you get there? Another criteria to consider when selecting your college is if they dare you to be different.” Ed stated that students need a learning environment where they can be comfortable and confident enough to be who they want to be. Lastly, he believes that students need a college that cares about their students’ journey. “If [a] college really cares about where you are coming from, then your journey becomes much more meaningful and transformative,” he said.

Testimonials were also shared during the virtual summit. MMDC’s very own Partnerships and Corporate Communications Manager Josh Villanueva facilitated a short segment with Concentrix Philippines’ Senior Director of Training and Quality Rica Jimenez and Edwin Salvador, a former security guard and now a Filipino and Araling Panlipunan Teacher in Garden Angels Integrated School, who pursued college education in his 40’s. The discussion revolved around how unlocking career opportunities through a college degree can lead to financial breakthroughs.

Edwin shared that he served as a security guard in the same school he graduated Magna Cum Laude from, a feat that can inspire many working students. But to get to where he was took a lot of hard work and time management. His salary as a security guard alone could not sustain his and his family’s needs, especially as a working student, which was why he also hustled as an electrician and technician. “Sa ganung pamamaraan nabuhay ko ang aking pamilya. Mahirap po. May mga time na halos nahihilo ka na sa pagod, sa init. Pero kinakailangan mong magtrabaho para sa pamilya.” Edwin wanted to step up and continue his studies despite knowing how difficult it would be because he had so many dreams he wanted to fulfill. “Lagi po akong nananaginip na lumilipad pero hindi [ako] makalipad dahil may humihila pababa. Yun po yung feeling ko bago ako mag-aral muli.”

Edwin also emphasized how important his college degree is. He developed confidence in himself which translated to how he works and inspires his students who want to step up. “Binigyan ako ng pagkakataon na maging ilaw sa mga kabataan na kung saan magaguide ko [sila] sa tamang landas.”

Rica, on the other hand, shared that though she was fortunate enough to have a full scholarship when she pursued her second degree, “hindi rin biro yung cost ng school supplies at ng baon. But I really just had to be mindful of all my expenses. The biggest challenge as a working student is you are already making a lot of sacrifices while the rest of your friends ‘gumigimik’ while we have to work and spend the very small amount of free time that we have studying or working,” she said. As a working student, Rica had to make smart decisions and choose between making the sacrifices when she was still a student in order to finish school, or to push it back later on and spend time with friends. She chose to prioritize her schooling and now reaps its benefits.

She also gave tips to those who want to pursue higher education despite their busy schedule at work. “Education should be a right, not a privilege, and I’m happy that Concentrix is aligned with that value. You can also ask your school if they have scholarships that you can apply for, like what I did.”

Up next were Isabel Luna, Customer Success Manager for BukasPH, and Patricia Candaza, Partnership Associate for BukasPH, who tackled budgeting and managing one’s finances as well as making education a top investment. As working students, they shared their first-hand experiences and useful tips on how to do just that.

They had two points to share: Understanding one’s financial goals and understanding one’s resources. Some practical tips they shared were to (1) track expenses so one can plan ahead and monitor one’s progress as one gets closer to higher earning potential, (2) understand the cost of one’s personal goals and one’s monetary resources, and (3) focus on one’s capacity to earn more and to develop the habit of saving. Isabel added, “You can use your current job to learn and to earn. Magpataas kayo ng value para in the future makakakuha kayo ng trabaho na mas maganda ang benefits package at yung salary,” Isabel said. “You can also consider your skills, talents, and opportunities that can give you increased income.”

Patricia added, “When it comes to capacity to earn, there are a lot of opportunities in terms of free training, if that’s something you want to explore, and certifications that you can avail online. It’s something that can really help you if you want to level up your financial goals or achieve your target savings. When you invest in your education today, you get that secured pipeline of what you want to achieve tomorrow. Once you start investing in the kind of certifications and training that you want, it gives you more knowledge or at least that edge once you enter the workforce. It will help you stay ahead of the line.”

Wrapping up the last day of the virtual summit was Frankie Antolin, Executive Director for Talent Attraction and Development for IT & Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP). She shared about the IT-BPM industry and what it would be like if one chooses to take this career path especially today where technology plays a huge role in different careers out there. “We also invest a lot in terms of talent development, career growth, and inclusivity. We have a focus on digital and high complexity work. Our leadership position when it comes to front office or voice services is second to none, but we also want to ensure that we can continue to grow the industry, that’s why we’re focusing on higher value services especially since everything is going digital and the nature of the work within the IT-BPM industry is also changing. And so as the industry is growing we want to make sure that the Filipino talent is also growing with the industry.”

Frankie emphasized that we all have to start somewhere and that there is a place for everyone in the IT-BPM industry. “Our advantage in the Philippines is that we have different soft skills and technical skills that are highly valued by our customers globally. Those who are not yet part of the industry, such as our students, are able to take advantage of talent development programs that we have within the industry,” she said These programs are also open to employees in different industries, career shifters, and those who are already in the industry and want to upskill and reskill.

In her Q&A portion, Frankie emphasized that these days, when it comes to upskilling and reskilling, it is a combination of different dimensions. “Domain skills may be [for] more specialized types of roles and maybe for some of you, you are specializing in certain kinds of degrees, but don’t forget the other part of it, which are more soft skills and essential skills. It really is a global market that we play in, and we need to be able to collaborate with the different geographies, customers, and culture. We want to be able to communicate well with them while at the same time making sure that you are familiar with the digital technology that is available.”

Step Up sa Tagumpay Awards

If you are a working student, who participated at the event, join our competition for the best stories of how you can step up in either your career, life, or finances. We are looking for the most captivating stories that showcase your unique journey as a person juggling work, school, and life, and how you will triumph with what you have learned from the Step Up sa Pangarap Virtual Summit. Winners will receive a Continuing Education Scholarship in MMDC and other exciting prizes. Learn how you can join here.

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