Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines an apprentice as: “…one bound by indenture to serve another for a prescribed period with a view to learning an art or trade” or “one who is learning by practical experience under skilled workers a trade, art, or calling”.
In the Philippine setting, “appreticeship”, is defined as a “practical training on the job supplemented by related theoretical instruction involving a contract between an apprentice and an employer on an APPROVED apprenticeable occupation”.
What is apprenticeship
It is a practical training on the job supplemented by related theoretical instruction involving a contract between an apprentice and his or her employer on an APPROVED APPRENTICEABLE OCCUPATION. So, one, there must be a so-called “apprenticeable occupation” and two, it must be approved by the Government to make it legal and valid.
In the country, it is the TESDA which implements this APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM. The TESDA Act of 1994 expressly empowers TESDA to implement and administer the apprenticeship programs because it normally involves “highly” skilled jobs.
Rules to Observe by Employers
- The Employer should be engaged in a business that is considered a highly technical industry. (This refers to a trade or business or industry which utilizes the application of advanced technology. Basis? Implementing Rules, Book II, Sec. 2(j) of the IRR of the LABOR CODE of the Philippines)
- The job which the apprentice will work on should be an apprenticeable occupation (So what is an apprenticeable occupation? It is any trade, form of employment or occupation which requires more than 3 months of practical training with theoretical instruction officially endorsed by the tripartite body and approved for apprenticeship by the TESDA.
Who is an apprentice?
Any worker can only be recognized as an apprentice if he or she is covered by a written apprenticeship agreement with an employer. It must be noted that “apprenticeship programs” must be voluntary. As a general rule, one cannot be coerced into being an apprentice just like one cannot be coerced to work as an employee with another.
QUALIFICATIONS OF AN APPRENTICE
- At least 15 years of age (those who are below 18 may be eligible for apprenticeship only in non-hazardous occupations)
- Physically fit for the occupation
- Possess vocational aptitude and capacity;
- Possess the ability to comprehend and follow oral and written instructions
- The company must have an apprenticeship program duly approves by the DOLE.
So you think your company can hire apprentices? Then the job you are offering must be considered as an apprenticeable occupation.
An apprenticeable occupation is any trade, form of employment or occupation which requires more than three (3) months of practical training with theoretical instruction officially endorsed by the Tripartite body and approved for apprenticeship by the TESDA.
Apprenticeable occupation must involve highly technical industries. By definition, a “highly technical industry” refers to a trade, business, enterprise, industry or other activity which utilizes the application of advanced technology. There is a need of prior approval by TESDA (before it was DOLE) of the proposed apprenticeship program – this is a MUST. Otherwise, an apprentice becomes a regular employee. Yup. See the case of Nitto Enterprises v. NLRC, 248 SCRA 654.
Apprentices are considered as CONTRACTUAL workers (that is, if you comply to the requirements listed above). Being contractual workers, their length of service depends on the term provided for in the apprenticeship agreement. Thus, an employer is not obliged to employ the apprentice after the completion of the training.
To make sure you don’t forget the conditions for the employment of an apprentice, these are the things to comply before anything else:
- The job must involve an apprenticeable trade as determined by TESDA. If you are not sure whether your company or your enterprise qualifies, then go ahead and write TESDA. Their email is on their website.
- Secure a prior approval from the Department of Labor and Employment of the proposed apprenticeship program BEFORE entering into any apprenticeship agreement with any employee.
The Labor Code of the Philippines, as amended aims to establish apprenticeship standards for the protection of apprentices.
Hope this helps and you gained something about apprenticeship in the Philippines.
Best of luck!