AirAsia Philippines cabin crew and pilots (Photo courtesy of Steve Dailisan)

MANILA – With travel restrictions implemented in many areas locally and abroad, airline crew are among the most affected. Employees of AirAsia Philippines, however, will have a chance to upskill themselves through the help of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

"Many employees, especially the cabin crew, have nothing to do (because of travel restrictions). Skills and livelihood training will be provided to them by TESDA," AirAsia Philippines spokesperson Steve Dailisan said in a virtual presser on Wednesday.

TESDA Secretary Isidro Lapeña confirmed this to the Philippine News Agency (PNA), saying that an agreement between TESDA and AirAsia has been drafted. "The partnership aims to provide skills training and skills development to AirAsia's active and inactive (under furlough) workers and their immediate family members, and other qualified beneficiaries," he said.

Once the memorandum of agreement is approved and signed by the Secretary, it will be cascaded to all concerned TESDA regional offices that will implement the training. "It shall (serve as guidance) and will be part of the basis in the implementation of the skills training in the concerned regional offices. The number of trainees shall be based on the number of beneficiaries to be endorsed by AirAsia," he said.

Lapeña, however, noted that the provision of scholarship grants to qualified employees and beneficiaries shall be subject to the availability of funds and rules and regulations on TESDA's scholarship programs.

There are many courses and programs that the beneficiaries can choose from. Among these are Entrepreneurship, Bread and Pastry Production, Managing Personal Finances, Getting Business Online, Language courses.

They can also avail of ICT (information and communications technology) courses such as SMART Android Mobile Apps Development for Beginners, and SMART Technopreneurship 101; Android 4.0 Programming in Java; Web Development using HTML5 and CS3. Those interested in electronics may enroll in Computer System Servicing NC, Electrical Installation and Maintenance NC, and Solar Night Light Assembly.

According to Lapeña, it was AirAsia who approached TESDA for a possible partnership. They discussed possible areas of collaboration last September 1. The draft of the agreement with AirAsia's comments is still for review of TESDA's concerned offices as of September 30.

The public may learn about aviation, too

In an interview with PNA on Thursday, Dailisan said the airline also plans to train those who are interested in the aviation industry.

"We will also be working with TESDA in developing and providing short courses to individuals or organizations interested in learning aviation standards, and new and emerging skills in the sector," he said.

AirAsia eyes developing and registering courses such as Basic Cabin Crew Training, Introduction to Aircraft Maintenance, Food Preparation, Personality Development, among others. The duration of these courses may be 100 to 150 hours.

"Though final details have yet to be finalized, TESDA and AirAsia Philippines have formed a technical working committee to determine the viability of each course, number of participants, and qualifications if needed," Dailisan remarked.

The two parties are eyeing to launch the program towards the end of October, according to Dailisan.

Meanwhile, AirAsia Philippines is gearing for travel recovery. In December, it will start servicing international routes such as Taiwan and Singapore. Dailisan said the move aims to help the overseas workers to come back to the Philippines for the holidays.

The airline also announced that it will start flying to Dumaguete City and Roxas City by the first quarter of 2022. (PNA)