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Lifeline to a better life: VECO’s Linemen Training Program

Quennie S. Bronce | August 31, 2017


John, Elven and Elson, who are in their early 20s, wanted better lives for themselves and their families.

All three have decided that taking the Electrical Installation and Maintenance (EIM) course at TESDA is the ticket to such an improvement in their lives and the income that they were earning.

The three, along with 11 other enrollees of TESDA’s EIM course, however, got the surprise of their lives when they found out that they were chosen as scholars of the Visayan Electric Company, Inc. (VECO). This meant that they would enjoy free tuition while taking the course, as well as get allowance and additional training through the Basic Lineman’s Training at the VECO Development Academy in Sirao.

With the VECO support, the opportunity of a better life just got better.


John Magpatoc: Hard work will take you places

I thought, after leaving my hometown, that working at the water refilling station was it for me. That’s why I worked hard. I am happy that my hard work led me to train in VECO.

Twenty-two-year-old John Magpatoc, a high school graduate and the sixth in a brood of 12, left his hometown in Southern Leyte and came to Cebu to get a job that would enable him to help his parents raise his younger siblings.

He and his twin brother, along with a younger sister found themselves working for a retired ship captain who owns a water refilling station in Cebu City.

John shared that he and his siblings are very fortunate to have met their boss, who is very generous. “Our boss, aside from letting us work at the water refilling station and allowing us to stay in his home, also encourages us to enrol in courses that interests us. He wanted us to learn skills that could land us better jobs, even if it meant leaving him and his water refilling station,” he said.

Which was why John found himself enrolling for the EIM course at TESDA. Finding out about the VECO scholarship was a welcome development. “I was so happy and thankful when I found out about the VECO scholarship. Taking the EIM course meant that when I finish it, I could be an electrician. The VECO scholarship, which came with additional basic lineman’s training, provided better opportunities, including the possibility of working in VECO,” he said.

John and the other VECO scholars are already thick into the basic lineman’s training, a gruelling course that is both physically and mentally demanding. “We are learning a lot and we are very thankful to VECO for giving us this opportunity,” he said.

John and his twin brother, who is already working, are still staying at the ship captain’s home, and are still working at the water refilling station. John said this is their way of repaying their boss for his generosity and goodness.


Elven Jun Morden: Doors will open if you take a chance


We learned to work together and help each other. The camaraderie among us scholars made learning a fun experience.

After he finished taking the Alternative Learning System (ALS) program, a ladderized, modular non-formal education program by the Department of Education, 23-year-old Elven Jun Morden hoped to land a job that could help his family.

His father, who works as a company driver, supported his intention of becoming an electrician by enrolling him at TESDA’s EIM course even if the fees would put a dent on the meager income that his father earns for the family.

“Finishing ALS was the first step but it will not get me anywhere if I do not acquire skills. I needed the TESDA EIM course, so we had to sacrifice,” Elven shared, adding that the VECO scholarship was an answered prayer. “With the scholarship, my father did not have to spend for the course, plus I get to learn more skills with the linemen training.”

Elven, who also sings for their church choir, said that aside from learning more during the linemen training, he also earned more friends.

“The training is demanding. We go home very tired. But look at us, we are still in high spirits because we all know that we are very fortunate to be given this opportunity,” he said.

Elven took the TESDA course in the hopes of being an electrician in their neighborhood. He insisted on getting the training, despite financial constraints, because he knew he needed it. He persisted, and now, opportunities have opened for him.


Elson Gagani: I can be more


The VECO scholarship and additional training made the chance I took a whole lot better. Thank you very much VECO.

After graduating from high school, 22-year-old Elson Gagani worked as a waiter for different restaurants, as well as a sales associate for a fashion brand to augment the income of his mother, who works as a helper.

Aside from their daily expenses, he and his mother also have to spend for the education of his sister. “Working as a waiter was so frustrating. I worked for more than 12 hours and would get below minimum wage. I do not mind working hard as long as I get proper compensation because we need the money,” Elson shared.

The EIM course at TESDA was Elson’s idea of a chance at a better way of living. Learning new skills is the improvement he needed. He can be more than just a waiter.

Imagine his surprise when he found out he did not need to spend for the TESDA course, will be getting additional basic linemen training with VECO, plus getting allowance for everyday he undergoes training!

“It feels good to know that I made the right choice when I decided to make more out of myself by taking the TESDA EIM course,” Elson said.

VECO’s mission is to provide stable and reliable electricity to its customers. But, aside from that, the country’s second largest electric distribution utility, also aims to help the people and the communities within its franchise area.

And true to the Aboitiz goal of Advancing Business and Communities, VECO’s ongoing partnership with TESDA through the Linemen Development Training Project has given out-of-school youths, high school graduates who cannot afford a college education, a chance at better employment and better lives for their families.