Choose Not To Get Involved? Then You Really Have No Right To Complain

A good friend and key business partner, Penny Bongato, recently authored the cover story for the AmCham Journal’s September 2014 issue.

I wanted to share some highlights form one of the foremost thought leaders of industry-academe collaboration here in the Philippines.

“Industry. The Academe. When have they ever been in harmony? Some academics say “Leave the teaching to us. We will produce the graduates you need.” Industry however claims that the academe is not producing the quality graduates they need.

Meanwhile, the academe complains that Industry has not been very forthright in articulating what it is exactly that they require of the graduate I believe our expectation is that Academe is supposed to produce employable graduates.

With the challenges businesses face today (i.e., changing technology, fierce competition, and especially globalization) there is not much room or time to train the new employee, similar to the kind of new employee training we had decades ago. If industry continues to harbor this expectation, the often cited phenomenon called the Jobs versus Skills mismatch will keep getting wider.

We have complained about this for decades. In this scenario, what would Industry’s role be? In the four years that I have been with the IT & Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP), I have personally witnessed instances of true collaboration between the ITBPM industry, where I belong, and the academe.”

This area of industry-academe collaboration is one of my passions, long ago seeing a greater need to prepare Filipino students for BPO careers. One of the first people I made a point of befriending when I moved to the Philippines to set up my business was Penny. Since we first met over three years ago we have been able to work on several projects together, including me being sent by BPAP to speak in front of students about careers in the BPO industry. Besides speaking to students, I have made a point to recruit students and fresh grads as trainees, OJT and even as employees because I recognize the need to help move this collaboration along.

As Benedict Hernandez, IBPAP’s Chairman of the Executive Committee, CCAP President and the Head of Accenture BPO said, “If you [as a member of the IT BPM industry] choose not get involved, you really have no right to complain.”

I also believe this to be so true! So as both a regular guest lecturer in academe and an owner of a BPO company, I call on my brothers and sister in both arenas to stop complaining and start acting. In the end, the ultimate beneficiary of this is our students… aka our future!

Thanks so much Penny, for sharing these incredible insights and challenging us all to up our game in a time of great national need.

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