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On Taking the High Road: Who wouldn’t say 'Yes!' to YES?
QUEZON CITY -- From young farmers to agripreneurs – this is the vision in bringing back more people in the agriculture sector. As such, the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), in partnership with the Foundations for People Development, Inc. – Molding Future Innovations (FPD-MFI), initiated the Youth Empowerment through a Sustainable (YES) Program in 2014.
YES is a two-year scholarship program, consisting of two trimesters that will equip the scholars with knowledge and skills in agriculture and entrepreneurship technology. Beneficiaries of the program are members of the 4-H Clubs nationwide, especially the out-of-school youth and those who cannot afford to pursue a college degree after graduating from high school.
The curriculum was developed by the FPD-MFI, wherein courses employ the dual training system: 30% classroom training and 70% hands-on training/on-the-job training (OJT). Within the two-year period, the scholars are required to prepare a “Farm Business Venture Project Proposal”, which will be implemented during the last two trimesters of their Diploma Course. The scholars shall also earn two TESDA-compliant certificates: Horticulture NC II and Animal Production NC II and/or Organic Agriculture. Moreover, successful scholars can earn a Diploma in Entrepreneurship with specialization based on their farm experiences and exposures. They may also opt to finish a baccalaureate degree on the said course.
The ATI’s Regional Training Centers (RTCs), in coordination with the 4-H Club coordinators of the local government units, take the lead in information dissemination, recruitment, and screening of aspiring scholars, while the FPD conducts written examination and interviews that will test the applicant’s skills and mental abilities as well as measure their interests. The chosen scholars are then assigned to schools that offer the ladderized courses or other pre-identified schools by FPD.
This year, YES Program has produced 265 graduates out of the 268 scholars nationwide and they were presented during commencement exercises held in July, August and September. Academic Excellence and Best in OJT awards were also given to scholars who have reached a general weighted average of 1.75 and above.
The YES program is being managed by the Career Development and Management Division of ATI and hosted by the MFI team.
Graduates of the course are expected to become agri-preneurs, creating jobs for themselves rather than seeking employment. Through this youth development program, it is hoped that there will always be new generation of farmers who will continue and sustain the agricultural activities in the country, ensuring food security.